Christopher D. Roy writes about his new video on Daily life in an African village
I am very pleased to announce the release of a new video on YouTube titled “Daily Life in an African Village.”
As you might expect, the video focuses on villages in Burkina Faso, and includes footage that I have made over the past ten years or so. Of course all the things that I describe don’t take place every day in any village, but the video does give a good impression of the wonderful creativity of people in small farming villages in the Western Sudan. Most of the video was shot in the Mossi town of Diablo, in northern Burkina Faso, but there are a few scenes from other villages around the country in an effort to show a variety of everyday activities. There are scenes of farming and harvest, of women threshing and grinding grain, of a woman preparing a meal for her family, including sauce of baobab leaves. You can see smiths smelting and forging iron, women making pottery and firing it, young boys constructing their own masks out of millet stalks and then practicing wearing them as they will when they are adults, an artist carving a mask, men fashioning masks of leaves, scenes of funerals including some very powerful magic, scenes in both Catholic churches and in Muslim mosques in West Africa, divination using cowry shells, and a lot more. I have even included a few street scenes of Ouagadougou, and of a fashion show in 2007 at the home of the chief of state of Burkina Faso, just to show “how the other half lives.”
At this point early in the semester I often find myself looking for material to use in class to introduce Africa to undergraduates, and also material to use if I am away from school at a conference. This video certainly does NOT show what life is like in Nigeria, or Congo, or Tanzania, but until scholars who are working in those countries produce some useful video about daily life, I think that “Daily Life in an African Village” will help students understand better the realities of life in rural Africa.
Christopher D. Roy The University of Iowa