Africa United

Went to see Africa United over the weekend with Marie, Marie told me it was supposed to be an accurate portrayal of Africa. the opening sequence when Dudu (Eriya Ndayambaje) makes a football with a condom it made me sit up in my seat straight away as i knew this film just wasnt going to be any ordinary film. The story is that of 3 children’s road trip across Africa to Johannesburg for Fabrice (Roger Nsengiyumva), a football prodigy in the making, to be able to go out on the pitch for the opening of the World Cup. They get on a bus supposedly heading to the Rwandan capital for an audition but end up getting on the wrong bus and thats where there journey begins, they head through several African countries and have to fight the odds with so many things such as wildlife and bad guys threatening there journey and they pick up a couple of friends on there journey.

They hitch through Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa to get there and it includes many issues other continents would associate with Africa: AIDS, child soldiers, lack of schooling, war and prostitution. But it deals with them in a matter-of-fact, occasionally light-hearted fashion. I have to say it was a sobering storyline. The film was excellent and from the limited exposure i have to Africa i have to say it is pretty accurate. Considering that the main 5 actors of the film were children i have to say that the film was very well done, and its great to have a different storyline for a change rather than the usual hollywood stories where all too often sex or violence feature in some way.

We had quite a debate after the film because the one thing it got me thinking is although its an accurate portrayal, the bit that got me was Africa’s belief that condoms will solve the HIV/AIDS problem, when in reality it wont, it only treats the symptoms when the root cause is hearts need changing. Sleeping around seems to be so prevalent in Africa and all condoms do is seem to say that its ok to do that as long as you where one you wont get HIV, i honestly believe that a heart change needs to happen before the HIV/AIDS problem is going to be reduced. God is needed in so many hearts to convict them that sleeping with more than one partner is wrong before this problem will get anywhere near going away. its sad to see a generation being destroyed because of this.

I will close with this, you really should go and see this film if you dont know what the problems in africa are, in one sense it cant capture the true scale of some of the issues in africa because it would make a very dark and depressing film, however it does highlight some of the big issues in a positive way which is so refreshing given that we only hear about these stories so often in a negative light or once or twice a year at fundraising events. It’s quite exciting to actually see positive culture shaping films making mainstream cinema



4 comments on “Africa United
  1. Impeller says:

    Condoms *are* an approximately 80% effective way of preventing transmission of the HIV virus. http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=transmission+of+hiv+condoms Condoms do not merely treat the symptons, and they don’t say either that it is or is not okay to “sleep around” in Africa or anywhere else.

    Monogamy and abstinence are also effective. This knowledge does not justify picking out another method and denying its very real effectiveness, and doing so could well make one part of the (complex) problem rather than helping to solve it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/11/bad-science-pope-anti-condom

  2. Anthony says:

    thanks for your comments, i dont want to say that condoms dont cure the problem, the cold reality is nothing will cure HIV/AIDS as we know it currently. I do think it wrong to trumpet condoms as the miracle cure when it isnt, its just a way of reducing the numbers which in itself yes it is positive. I know that it doesnt say that sleeping with more than one person is more ok or less ok, i am just coming from my opinion that it doesnt tackle the key issue of getting people to not sleep around and being aware of there partner’s possible STD’s if they have them and taking appropriate cautionary measures. Trumpeting condoms as the miracle cure infers that its still ok to sleep around with lots of people as long as its protected, from my moral stand point i dont agree with that, and i have nothing against the use of a condom as a form of contraception or for a form of protection against std’s but i still believe that you shouldn’t use that as license to go and sleep around.

  3. Impeller says:

    I agree claiming they are a miracle cure would be wrong and dangerous. Is this the impression the film gives? Who else has been doing so?

    As a friendly aside from a non-believer to believer, I like the irony of a Christian who wants to see his god in everyones’ hearts to defeat HIV warning against believing in miracle cures. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for your reply, and all the best.

  4. Anthony says:

    ok firstly, I dont think you can say I am being ironic when you also agree that condom usage is not a “miracle cure”

    I dont mean to say the film champions this as the miracle cure, but it does portray Africa reasonably accurately in this case. at the end of the day condoms dont cure the root cause of the problem, they dont even treat the symptoms they just reduce some of the numbers involved (which on its own is positive)

    The root cause of the problem is to a certain degree lack of education, people dont understand the real dangers of how HIV is transmitted and there is certainly no lack of misinformation either. people dont understand that they can get access to ARV’s which help fight HIV, people dont understand or know that it is possible to almost totally prevent transmission mother to baby with the right course of treatment. and the most obvious misinformation i saw on my trip to Zimbabwe over the summer were billboards promoting circumcision as a way of preventing HIV transmission. My GCSE biology knowledge may be 6 years old but i am virtually certain a circumcision doesnt prevent the transmission of bodily fluids which is one of the primary methods of HIV transmission (the others being Mother to Child and Needle sharing). i would love to know who came up with the idea of making a profit selling circumcisions and wrongly informing probably a large number of male Africans into thinking they cant get HIV because they had a circumcision.

    While as I christian I believe and pray that all may come to know jesus and accept him into there lives, I dont think that its a requirement for that to take place before a heart change can occur, I am fully confident that if Africans were properly educated (and not misinformed) in the way HIV is transmitted and what medical access they have (particularly for mother child transmission prevention) that some would make changes in there lives which would mean that they have had a “heart change” for want of better words

    Talking about God, I believe that he works in all things for the greater good, I dont believe HIV and AIDS is from Him but i believe he can work through all things, including condom’s, for the good of all mankind, I do know from experience however He prefers to deal with the root of an issue rather than symptoms of byproducts or consequences

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