Film: Salah – an African toubab?

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Film: Salah – an African toubab?

Bericht  ClaudiaSenegal op za okt 11, 2008 3:31 pm

Not every African wants to go to Europe!
Every African wants to go to Europe is the common public opinion in Europe. The young and energetic will rise to the opportunity of finding a better life in Europe or the United States.But there are young people who choose differently. People who want all the benefits of a steady and fulfilling professional life, on the condition that they can achieve this at home. People who love their native country and who realize that happiness is not an easy commodity in an foreign land. Salah Salahina Sounfountera, living in Mali, is such a man.

Salah – an African toubab? is an intimate portrait of a young man struggling with his identity, we get to see a different picture of contemporary West-Africa.Having made his decision to stay, and ambitious enough to build his own company in Africa, his daily reality is a hard one. As a tourist guide he has become a ‘modern man’, with western ideas who wants to take the best of both worlds, not realising that he will fall into the gap between two cultures. The question ‘Who am I?’ cuts to the core. His ideas conflict with the expectations of both his family and his wife. He is seen as a toubab, an outsider, a white man. He constantly needs to prove that he is still one of them, to demonstrate that he has not become godless. They have to see him praying. He has to prove that he is not selfish, that he still wants to help his relatives when he is able to.
But he opposes strongly to some of the ingrained customs and traditions that encourage dependence and inertia.

Why a film about a tourist guide?
In her previous film Nima Temba Sherpa, director Margriet Jansen has revealed that the personal background of a tourist guide can be of interest, provided that his story is well told. This film won the Audience Award at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival of 2004.The film Salah – an African toubab? will offer the viewer some surprising insights in “his” guide: to all appearances a “modern man”, in reality he is African to the core. A man who is determined to succeed in dirt-poor Mali, but also recognizes the demands of tradition and the customary duty to provide for the many, in the face of poverty and deprivation.

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