The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

13 October 2009

Chantal Bagilishya: Special Tribute to one of Africa’s treasures in the world of cinema by Seipati Bulane Hopa

Chantal Bagilishya
Special Tribute to one of Africa’s treasures in the world of cinema by Seipati Bulane Hopa, Secretary General of FEPACI, Panafrican Federation of Filmmakers (2006-2013)

Today, my sister is gone, she has journeyed far into the distant horizon – leaving - lingering in my nostalgic memory - questions that may forever remain unanswered - for the long pause we have had - of unspoken words between us - I now heavily regret".

Seipati Bulane Hopa
When I first met Chantal in the eighties, not only was I struck by her beauty and an enchanting smile that lit her face, I was drawn in by her strong character, by the determination and resilience she had in pursuing her gift and passion in film-making. I hold in my memory, the dream she had of being the best in what she did, the desire she had of having all the support she needed in sharing her gift of story telling and the wish she had in being able to achieve it. For all she wanted to be - was to be at her best performance - when working and producing stories that spoke to the values she held dear to her heart.

We were young then, and that time the world was a beckoning, exciting adventure, we saw so much possibility, so much opportunity in making our world of cinema function - function in an effective way - in a way that gave us the courage - the passion - and the love to continue being the conscience keepers we had to be and wanted to be, the teachers we had to be and wanted to be, the learners we had to be and wanted to be, the robust and independent storytellers we had to be and wanted to be . Our hearts were young, full of life and full of verve – we were ready to conquer the world with this big wish list we had.

Today, my sister is gone, she has journeyed far into the distant horizon – leaving - lingering in my nostalgic memory - questions that may forever remain unanswered - for the long pause we have had - of unspoken words between us - I now heavily regret.

I would have loved to know whether her dreams of what she wanted to do had been met, whether the wealth of stories she wanted to tell, had been told. I would have loved to have her views on what she thinks of us now – and on where she thinks we could be or should be in this beloved world of cinema that so possessively entraps and captivates us.

Our mantra of yesterday and today remains the same, we are ever so inclined to say; Africa’s cultural practitioners have a wealth of talent and stories deeply embedded in their minds and hearts - but no real cultural institution or trust account capable enough to sustain and unleash this potent wealth of story - lying latent within the treasure cove of our rich creative cultural landscape

Chantal’s passing and that of others before her should not be in vain. The recent flooding of the library at the FESPACO took us by shock, the damage and loss that is incurred offers a powerful metaphor that evokes and invokes a greater consciousness of creating a future that is founded on pillars of prosperity - for procrastination is known to be opportunity’s natural assassin. We must aspire to that which necessitates measures that compel us toward creating tangible tools that help us create an infrastructure that is robust and responsive in managing African audiovisual cinema institutions.

The continuing loss of Africa’s intellectuals, the continuing loss and devaluation of Africa’s intellectual property can not continue to pass as unfortunate incidents – unfortunate incidents that seem to leave us in despair – feeling helpless and disempowered.

It is through the loss of our talent, the passing on of our most militant of our creative force that we must recharge our creative, intellectual energies, sharpen our creative weapons and compel change by looking at change with a different eye and an approach that compel us to be the change we want to see and be.

We have lived in a scarcity state for far too long, where stories made with the vigilance and conscience of men and women such as Chantal remain obscure. Our mass audience have long been waiting and ready to receive stories and images that are really about us, images that truly are reflective of our spaces, experiences and thoughts. That was Chantal’s dream – to penetrate the minds of that audience. Is it not ironic that in the Southern parts of Africa and even elsewhere, very few film-makers, television viewers and cinema goers hardly know who Chantal Bagilishya is if we dared to ask – whereas we would know of those film-makers and actors that are not from our continent. 

Chantal was a cadre who walked and braved the treacherous rocky path we all are so accustomed to travelling. She played her part and went as far as she could – we need to run the relay race and make her smile in her new spiritual world where she joins other giants on whose shoulders we stand today.

Lala Kahle Ntombi ya ma Afrika - Rest in Peace daughter of Afrika

Wishing the family and friends, courage and strength – let today be a day that celebrates her life – a day that appreciates the gift she was to us all.

Seipati Bulane Hopa
15 October 2009

Source: Fepaci-film.org http://www.fepaci-film.org/Newsletter/Nl01-09-09-9.html (No longer active)

Posted 5 November 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant comments are welcome - Les discussions constructives sont les bienvenues