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Cinema has long been recognized as a powerful medium for storytelling, entertainment, and artistic expression. However, it’s potential to drive societal change and foster civic engagement is often overlooked. In collaboration with Afro Diorama, KQ Hub Africa had the privilege of hosting a captivating silent film picnic evening. The event’s purpose was to unite film enthusiasts and filmmakers in a relaxed and ambient atmosphere while shedding light on how African societies are utilizing film and the arts to promote civic change and engage in vital discussions regarding the prominent civic issues confronting our society. Beyond being a simple film screening event, it served as a platform for filmmakers, both established and newcomers, to network, interact, and engage in dialogues about the diverse ways in which film can be employed to champion the social issues we encounter.

During the event, Kq hub Africa had the opportunity to showcase two remarkable films that exemplify the power of cinema in driving social transformation. “Mary Monday” by Ochan Hannington: This awe-inspiring film follows the journey of Mary, a journalist working for a Ugandan news station. Equipped only with her mobile phone, which is powered by a small solar panel, Mary fearlessly dives into the lives of refugees in Uganda. She conducts extensive research, captures their stories, and skillfully edits them, ensuring that the voices of refugees and displaced individuals are heard through the medium of mass media. As a refugee herself, Mary’s work not only connects communities but also sheds light on their struggles and triumphs, fostering empathy and understanding.          

 “Mama Africa” by Mika Kaurismäki: In this powerful documentary, Mika Kaurismäki pays tribute to the iconic South African singer, Miriam Makeba. Over the course of half a century, Makeba traveled the world, employing her music as a potent political tool to combat racism, and poverty, and advocate for justice and peace. This film beautifully encapsulates Makeba’sunwavering dedication to her cause and her embodiment of Africa’s hopes and voice. Through her music, she broke down barriers and inspired change, leaving an indelible mark on society.

By curating these film screenings, our intention was to not only highlight the importance of social justice and governance but also champion the local and continental film industries. We aimed to create a platform that encourages filmmakers to delve into the depths of societal issues, sparking conversations and provoking thought. Film has a unique ability to engage audiences emotionally, intellectually, and socially. By presenting compelling narratives and thought-provoking visuals, filmmakers can shed light on pressing social issues, challenge existing norms, and mobilize viewers toward action. It serves as a powerful tool for initiating dialogue, raising awareness, and inspiring change. Our film screenings were carefully curated to exemplify this potential, showcasing stories that resonated with audiences and highlighting the ways in which film can drive civic engagement.

One of the primary goals of our event was to celebrate and support the burgeoning film industries in Uganda and across the African continent. By screening films from within Uganda and beyond, we aimed to shed light on the immense talent and creativity that exists within these industries. Additionally, we provided a platform for filmmakers to network, interact, and collaborate, fostering an environment that encourages the exploration of societal issues through film. By championing these industries, we not only contribute to their growth but also amplify the voices and perspectives of African filmmakers on a global stage. Our film screenings were not merely passive viewing experiences; they were spaces for dialogue, interaction, and the exchange of ideas. By bringing together filmmakers, film enthusiasts, and newcomers, we aimed to foster a sense of community and collaboration. Through post-screening discussions, attendees had the opportunity to explore the themes and messages of the films, delve deeper into the societal issues presented, and brainstorm ways to use film as a tool for civic engagement. These conversations and connections are essential for nurturing an environment where film can flourish as a medium for social change.