Support Ajabu Ajabu in the restoration and restitution of Tanzanian cinema.
In 2001, a film was released from Tanzania titled Maangamizi: The Ancient One. The film explores the breadth of African consciousness and spiritual heritage through the story of three women: a doctor, her patient, and the ancestral spirit who unites them. However, despite being recognized by prestigious international awarding bodies — the film has remained virtually unseen upon the continent, a fate too common for profound pieces of African film history.
This leads us to questions about preservation and how hierarchies across film culture dictate what films from the archive are being restored and who has access to these restored works. A quick Google search of other films produced in Tanzania post-independence period shows the extent of the imbalance - with nearly no results emerging.
, a collective of audio-visual practitioners in Tanzania, aims to remedy this (with your help).
Three important Tanzanian reels are being stored within film libraries in Europe where they remain inaccessible to the general public, inc:
Fimbo Ya Mnyonge (1974)
Yomba Yomba (1985)
Mama Tumaini (1986)
Each of these films individually offer a unique perspective of the Tanzanian experience. Collectively, they speak to a critical period in history that requires representation.
Once restored and digitized, the collective will use the localised approach to distribution they piloted with Maangamizi (through informal shops and bandas) to facilitate open and inclusive engagement with this archival collection - re-imagining preservation along modes of continuous access by global film communities.
The approximate cost for restoration of this collection of four films from their original formats to digital 4K will total 35,000 USD (approx. 8500 per film). We will be pursuing funding through several sources. And every donation will bring us closer to challenging the hierarchies of film cultures and returning Tanzanian film heritage to the spaces and the people that it represents.
(pictured: Rehema Maganga, featured in Ajabu Ajabu's upcoming documentary Apostles of Cinema)