Childhood journeys: growing up under adverse circumstances

By Djia Mambu and Domoina Ratsara

A PLACE FOR MYSELF: Elikia must find a way to belong in a society threatened by albinism.

Directed by Marie Clémentine Dusabejambo
Rating: 4/5 stars

This standout short film tells the story of an albino girl in an environment where her skin colour is perceived as a threat. Five-year-old Elikia is having a hard time with her classmates at primary school while her (black skinned) mother is facing threatening neighbours accusing her of having given birth to a witch child who will bring them bad luck.

The killing of albinos in Tanzania in 2010 caught the attention of this young filmmaker who had never really come across albinos in Rwanda, her home country. But that changed when she began her research. She discovered they were being hidden from Rwandan society. Encouraged by her mom, Elikia will do her best to try to find a way to express herself, to find a place where she can live and flourish. In the process, she will move you to tears.

Djia Mambu

Directed by Berni Goldblat
Rating : 4/5 stars

WALLAY, the debut fiction feature from Swiss-Burkinabe director Berni Goldblat shines light on both immigration and identity issues. Ady is 13 years old. Born and raised in France, he didn’t have any links to his African culture. His single dad, struggling to raise feels an awkward teenager and decides to send his son to his brother Amadou in Burkina Faso.

The film follows the journey of this young boy as he explores his African culture, interrogating the identity issues of an immigrant. Young Ady must undergo traditional circumcision to belong and to become a man in the land of his ancestors.

WALLAY is unlike any immigration film you have seen before. It is human and touching, realistic and refreshing and will make you rethink the global migration crisis.

Domoina Ratsara