The African in Me - Abech Deme Daba
By Emilie Wootton 14 June, 2012
This is not only the first day of SheffieldDoc/Fest but also the first time I am part of it,and I must say, the experience is gratifying – to be in a place where people come from around the world to tell a tale of facts and truth;to see and meet filmmakers dedicated to opening people’s eyes and show them the impacts of their actions, the cruelty of human beings in treating minorities.
So far I have watched two documentaries focusing on homosexuality,which both left mefeeling troubled: LOVE FREE, OR DIE and CALL ME KUCHU.While I was watching these films I was reflecting and struggling within myself, asking:what’s my Opinion? Having lived the whole of my life so far in Africa, I have never met anyone who was openly gay or lesbian, nor did I run into anyone who talked about it. Homosexuality is something that is considered to be a taboo and in most cases it leads to one being seen less than a human being. When I was watching these films, the humanity in me saw injustice, the Christian in me saw doubt and the African in me saw homophobia. I wish I could saywhat I concluded, but the truth of the matter is I don’t know. I had never been exposed to thescenes which both films take us in to.
In Ethiopia, where I am from, sex is never talked about in any context, be it in relation to homosexual or heterosexual relationships. One thing I love and value about documentary films is the fact that it has the power to show how cruel we as people are in treating people who are in minority.
In LOVE FREE, OR DIE, we see an American Bishop fighting to get acceptance as a leader of his church, while in CALL ME KUCHU Gandan gay rights activists fight to exist and live peacefully in their own country, enjoying the same human rights as the rest of the human race. It’s going to take a while for people to open up their minds in Africa, but I hope these documentaries find their way in the African Man’s hands.
Abech Deme Daba is sitting on this year’s Youth Jury