Forty years after its people were promised freedom by departing Spanish rulers, Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony.
While a UN-brokered ceasefire put an end to armed hostilities in the territory in 1991, the Saharawi people continue to live under the Moroccan armed forces' oppressive occupation and what peace exists in the area is fragile at best. But a new young generation are deploying creative nonviolent resistance for the cause of self-determination. Risking torture and disappearance at the hands of Moroccan authorities, they're also pushing back against those who have lost patience with the international community and are ready to launch another guerrilla war.
This brilliant film chronicles the everyday violence experienced by the Saharawis and voices the aspirations of a desert people for whom colonialism has never ended.
The screening will be followed by a discussion featuring a Saharawi cultural activist, filmmaker / activist Brahim Buhaia and Joanna Allan, Chair of the Western Sahara Resource Watch. The discussion will be hosted by Dr Lindiwe Dovey Senior Lecturer in African film and performance arts, SOAS.
This special event is presented in partnership with SOAS Centre for Film Studies, University of London.
The Saharawi cultural activist must remain anonymous to avoid travel restrictions.
Brahim is a documentary film and photojournalism student, cultural and media activist, from the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, South West Algeria. He is currently living in London and working on a short documentary about the Saharawi artist and peaceful activist "Yslem Hijo del Desierto". Brahim is also the co-author of the blog SaharawiVoice and co-founder of the initiative wallofsand.org.
Joanna Allen has volunteered with Saharawi solidarity groups since 2006. She is currently active with Western Sahara Campaign UK and is Chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch, which campaigns on foreign business interests in the occupied territory. Joanna is currently working on a PhD looking at gender and resistance to authoritarianism in Equatorial Guinea and occupied Western Sahara.
Lindiwe Dovey is a Senior Lecturer in African Film and Performance Arts at SOAS, University of London where she is also Chair of the Centre for Film Studies. Dovey co-founded the Cambridge African Film Festival and Film Africa, London’s African film festival, for which she was the Co-Director and the Film Programme Director in 2011 and 2012.