Almost three years ago Samwel Nangiria paid a visit the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. While there he was presented with objects gathered from his culture around 100 years ago. To his shock the collection included items that should never be in the possession of a museum or out of the hands of specific members of the Maasai community. He would eventually express his feelings to the museum, and what follows has become a fascinating and at times emotional engagement to de-colonize museums and empower the Maasai to tell their own story of who they are as a living culture today.
Somehow the end of a year (and a decade this time) doesn’t feel right if I don’t find myself at the dinner table in Boston sitting across from Christopher Lydon. The voice of the world’s first podcast, he’s been my north star ever since I started this thing long before itunes had podcasts or NPR knew what to do with the internet. As luck- or perhaps fate– would have it, Chris and I have become close friends over the years and the annual “where are we, what happened, where are we going” podcast conversation are among my most favorite rituals. (right after oatmeal, working on an episode of ROS with Mary and the team, and a historical walk around a neighborhood of Boston). This year we can’t help but talk about the socio-policial state of the world, as well as the environmental crisis we continue to march towards. Then there’s music, books, conversations that have been important to us which may shed some light on why all this is happening and what there is to appreciate or condemn when all is said and done. Lastly, as good friends surely will, we take time to appreciate one another, as we both arrive at landmark decades when it comes to age and wisdom. Listen in and stay for the whole ride for what is an honest and heartfelt conversation… to end one year and welcome in another.
This month I had the great honor of being present at the Video 4 Change gathering in South Africa. This meeting brought together indigenous activists from different parts of the continent, as well as allies and friends from the rest of the world. The topic: the struggle for indigenous rights in a globalized world where in the name of profit and development, people who have long lived in harmony with their environment are being forced to discard their identity and physically pulled from their ancestral land. How is this happening in an era of sustainable development goals and human rights? What can be done to help communities defend themselves and be heard on a national and international scale?
An African Election is a film that documents the struggle and achievements of the 2008 Ghanian elections. 4 years later, with the death President Atta Mills, the country is preparing to go back to the ballot box. And they’re not alone, throughout the continent of Africa, the wheels of democracy continue to turn, often in places you hear the least about in the international press. Film maker Jarreth Merz is fascinated and inspired by the shining examples of Africa, and in their stories he see’s a chance to inspire, the spark that can light a fire and get new discussions started, large and small. To do it, he’s putting together a mobile movie theater and bringing it all over Ghana and beyond. But he’s not doing it alone, besides his talented team, he’s putting out the call to people around the world who love democracy, Africa, aventure, and stories.. to get involved and get on board – it is time for A Political Safari.