Walking with Life
The Birth of a Human Rights Movement in Africa
Director: Kenny Mann Producer: Kenny Mann
Length: 39 min
Friday: 12:00pm – Hendricks Art Center 1
Saturday: 2:30pm – Angel Museum
Sunday: 12:00pm – La Casa Grande
Website: Rafiki Productions
The Birth of a Human Rights Movement in Africa documents the extraordinary impact of human rights education in Senegal, where an NGO called Tostan helps people come to their own understanding of human rights and democracy. Ancient customs, such as female genital cutting and forced early marriage, are re-examined and communities decide on which traditions they wish to keep and which no longer serve them in the modern world and should be abandoned.
Entire communities eagerly tackle health and hygiene, environmental concerns, registration for birth certificates, girls education and many other issues as Tostans method of organized diffusion spreads the human rights movement throughout the country and across its borders. Understanding the human right to a life free from discrimination leads to the break-down of cultural barriers between ethnic groups, thus opening up new arenas for cooperation, intermarriage and prosperity.
Program participants tell their stories. Ouriye Sale, who formerly performed female genital cutting on thousands of girls, is now its foremost opponent and will not allow her granddaughter to be cut. Imam Dembe Diwarra walks hundreds of miles from village to village to let people know that female genital cutting is not a law of the Q’uran.
Punctuated by the songs of a griot (oral historian), the film pulses to the dramatic beat of traditional music and dance. Whisked from the placid villages of the Casamance to the harsh desert of the Fouta and the teeming streets of Dakar, viewers become eye-witnesses to the empowerment of people through human rights education.