African music documentaries screened throughout May

AfriDocs, a regular series of documentaries televised across the continent, is back to commemorate and celebrate Africa's musical diversity.

The Gangbé Brass Band in a scene from the documentary 'Gangbé'.
The Gangbé Brass Band in a scene from the documentary 'Gangbé'.

The latest AfriDocs series comes during the month of May that marks Africa Day on 25 May, the anniversary of the establishment of the African Union (then known as the Organisation of African Unity) in May 1963 to promote unity between African nations. As the continent celebrates unity through diversity, AfriDocs presents a series of films that showcase the amazing range of musical talent that we find every day across the continent.

Every Thursday in May, two documentaries exploring African music will be screened back to back. This month’s films include Salif Keita: A Man with a Message, a film that highlights Malian star Salif Keita’s sources of inspiration; Gangbé, which documents the journey of the Gangbé Brass Band from Benin to Nigeria in a bid to ‘conquer’ Lagos; Kinshasa Symphony, the uplifting story of the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra in DR Congo; and Mahaleo, about one of Madagascar’s most popular  groups.

This month's AfriDocs series kicked off on 5 May with Papa Wemba: Chance Eloko Pamba in honour of the recent passing of Papa Wemba, as well as 100% Dakar, a look at the collective power of youth in ‪Senegal‬ using creativity, passion and social conscience as a vehicle for social change.

AfriDocs screens across sub-Saharan Africa every Thursday at 7:55pm Central African Time (GMT+2) on [ED] (DStv channel 190) and GOtv channel 65 , with repeats on Fridays and Sundays. See below of the full schedule of this month's African music documentaries.

12 May

Kinshasa Symphony (DRC, 2010)

A remarkable orchestra plays heroically despite its musicians' daily struggle for mere survival. For 15 years the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra in DR Congo has continued to play despite two coups, war, and exasperating power cuts. This uplifting film follows several determined characters whose lives have been transformed by the orchestra. By Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer.

Congo in Four Acts: Symphony Kinshasa (DRC, 2006)

A 15-minute short film that takes viewers on a hard-hitting tour through Congo’s capital city to discover the consequences of graft, neglect and poverty. By Kiripi Katembo Siku.

19 May

Gangbé (Benin, 2015)

A brass band from the Republic of Benin departs in a bid to conquer the city of Lagos in Nigeria. The film tells of the clash between two Africas. On this long journey to the metropolis, the adventures of a continent are revealed; the new cultural poles of the South and the gaps that still separate these neighbouring countries. In encounters with Femi Kuti and the contemporary ideals of Pan-Africanism, the Gangbé Brass Band finds themselves immersed in a world of new ideas. By Arnaud Robert.


Salif Keita: A Man with a Message (Mali, 1996 )

We join Salif Keita in Bamako to learn about his sources of inspiration – his family, the intermarriage of musical influences, and his affirmation of African identity. By Jean-Pierre Limosin.

26 May

Mahaleo (Madagascar, 2005)

In Malagasy, ‘Mahaleo’ means free or independent. Mahaleo’s voices and music have accompanied the people of Madagascar ever since the collapse of the colonial regime. By Paes and Rajaonarivelo.


The Cessation (South Africa, 2014)

This short documentary follows three members of the Angolan diaspora in Cape Town and maps the impact of the Angolan cessation that was announced by the South African government in 2013 and effectively ends the Angolan diaspora’s refugee status in South Africa from 2015. By Lotte Manicom.

Previous AfriDocs series focusing on music were screened in February this year, June 2015 and February 2015. For more information visit the AfriDocs website or Facebook page.


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