Past screening

Buddha in Africa

Directed by: Nicole Schafer
Runtime: 1hr 30min Year: 2019
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Directed by: Nicole Schafer
Runtime: 1hr 30min Year: 2019
Country: Malawi, South Africa, Sweden
Last Screened: Wed 29th Jan 2020

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, Enock Alu, is one of three hundred orphans from across rural Malawi, growing up between the contrasting worlds of traditional village life and the strict discipline of the Confucian, Buddhist value system of the Chinese.

Reminiscent of the Christian mission stations during colonial times, here African children with Chinese names speak Mandarin, worship Buddha and go through a gruelling process of mastering the difficult art of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year at school, has to make some tough decisions about his future and finds himself torn between returning to his relatives in the village or going abroad to study in China.

Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa raises red flags around education as indoctrination, charity with strings attached and opportunity that comes at the price of identity.