120902 Ring-Di-Alarm-BFI 081

  • 7 years in  the making !
  • The most expensive African film of its time (1979) !
  • Funded by Pan African groups and African nations at the height of the Black Power movement !
  • From Director Med Hondo who gave you Sarrounia (the African warrior queen who fought the French) comes an even more spectacular true story
  • Plus Q and A

Sat 7 December 2 to 5pm. BFI Southbank, Waterloo tube .www.bfi.org.uk

Tkts 7 Pounds. Book now to get a seat! CLICK HERE

Med Hondo’s hugely ambitious magnum opus was at the time the most expensive African film ever made (it cost $1.35 million). A work of scathing satire and mirthful anger, West Indies has remained largely out of circulation since its premiere in 1979. It’s a story of Western oppression told with the stylistic flourishes of big-budget Western cinema, a distinctly African take on the Hollywood musical, and a one-of-a-kind film primed for rediscovery

Hondo, by the way, is essentially one of African cinema's fathers. His directorial debut, Soleil Owas made in 1967, a year after Ousmane Sembene's first feature La Noire de. Soleil O screened at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival where it received critical acclaim. He went on to direct some 10 feature films, and acted in 18 other

The full title is West Indies: Les Negres Marrons De La Liberte (West Indies: The Black Freedom Fighters, specifically the Maroons). It was undoubtedly  a landmark in African cinema; and it's also a film that many probably haven't heard of, and thus haven't seen, but really need to!

It doesn't exist commercially on any home video formats; not even VHS apparently.

A project that took him upwards of 7 years to get made, it's an absolutely stunning piece of work - a $1.35 million (about $4 million today) colour musical epic film, made possible by an international cadre of investors - although much of it came from within the African continent.

Although the story it tells takes place primarily in the West Indies, as the title states, and France. In a nutshell, it documents the experience of African people, starting from the slave trade, to colonialism, to post-colonialism, to neocolonialism, and satirizes French imperialism in both Africa and the West Indies.The fact that it was adapted from a stage play (Les Negriers - The Slavers -by Daniel Boukman) makes sense, because it's filmed entirely on a stage set;

The film was released in 1979 in France, with Hondo a bit ambivalent about showing it to white French audiences who might not appreciate seeing themselves portrayed in an unflattering light. Initial reviews weren't stellar, not surprisingly, although it was reported at the time that black audiences loved and exalted not only the film, but also the Pan-Africanist spirit in which it was made - featuring a cast and crew from across the Diaspora.

But it's a technological and artistic achievement in African cinema history, and not even just continental Africa; the entire diaspora. And it's a shame that Hondo is largely unknown beyond maybe academic and cineaste circles, and that the film isn't widely available.


text from www.shadowandact.com


The Inspiring story of Black People in the Origin and Evolution of Medicine and Surgery !

Sunday 27 October 3pm to 5.45pm. (clocks go back !)

Cottons Caribbean Restaurant, 70 Exmouth Market, Islington EC1 Tube: Angel

Pay on the door.  £8.00. This is an intimate venue so its  first come, first served. Latecomers may end up standing or not getting in at all !

Black History Walks is working with Cottons Caribbean Restaurant to showcase African/Caribbean history and promote excellent African/Caribbean food. Hear from distinguished scholars have stimulating debates and  sample the delicious weekend buffet.

The Inspiring Story of Black People in the Origin and Evolution of Medicine and Surgery
In this lecture and book launch, Robin Walker author of the 700 page African history masterpiece, When we Ruled www.whenweruled.com  recounts the fascinating history of the origin and evolution of medicine and surgery. He details the contributions that Black people have made from Ancient Egyptian times, during the slavery era and right up to the advances made today by the African Americans.
Not only is it a big and fascinating story, The Robin Black 'History Man' Walker  shows that some of the health wisdom of the ancients is still relevant and beneficial today and he gives detailed examples!
Come along and discover
  • The true origins of penicillin and tetracycline in the Ancient Nile Valley
  • Just how widespread the smallpox vaccine really was in Ancient West Africa in pre-slavery times
  • The role of African Americans in the evolution of hormone replacement therapy and synthetic medicine
  • African midwifery, C-sections and child care pre-European invasion and the so-call civilising mission
Robin Walker will also be launching his new book series: Blacks and Science
Black Sumer and the African origin of civilisation:
Lecture, Discussion and Book Launch”
Sat 26 October 5-8 pm
(Previously sold out. Repeated by popular demand. This event is pay-on-the-door first come, first served)
In the Black Community, it is increasingly recognised that civilisation itself began in Africa. However, mainstream scholars continue to teach that civilisation started in the 'Middle Eastern' regions of Iraq and Syria ( referred to as Mesopotamia/Sumer in ancient times).
In this presentation,  scholar Fari Supiya, and Robin Walker author of the 700 page African historical masterpiece 'When We Ruled' www.whenweruled.com   will present new and cutting edge research that identifies who the ancient people of Iraq and Syria actually were.
For the record, they looked nothing like the people who dominate those regions today!
Is this yet another example of a Stolen Legacy?
Come along to our lecture, discussion, and book launch. You will find out:
  • How sickle-cell in ancient populations shows up in the skeletal remains
  • How a computer programme used by US police department forensics allows us to identify and classify ancient skulls by ethnic origin
  • How the languages spoken by ancient populations allows us to identify which modern populations they are related to.
  • Plus update on the present Syria situation from  a black history perspective
This event is history-in-the-making. We are presenting revolutionary NEW research and we are LAUNCHING three new books Black Sumer: The African Origins of Civilisation, and Black Sumer: The Physical Evidence 1 and 2This research on the Middle East is just as important and revolutionary as the work conducted by Diop and Obenga on Ancient Egypt.
We not only PROMISE to rewrite history, we are ACTUALLY DOING IT!
Find out more about When We Ruled at www.whenweruled.com 
Cost: £8.00 pay on the door
Event: Black Sumer and the African Origin of Civilisation
Venue: VAC Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, N1 9JP
Nearest tube: Kings Cross


chocolate lecture

A National Association of Black Saturday Schools www.nabss.org.uk  and www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk production

Chocolate, Afro's and Secret History

Double Lecture : The African history of Chocolate with Corinne Dennis PLUS 6000 Years of the Afro Comb with Kandace Chimbiri

Afro Comb secrets and origins

Saturday  21 September 5.30pm to 8.30pm. This event will start at 5.30pm, latecomers will miss out and may not get a seat

 Admission free if booked via eventbritehttp://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/8008522707/es2/?rank=1 . Donations accepted on the day

Queen Nzinga was an African Queen who fought against the European invasion of southern Africa (Congo/Angola). The Queen Nzinga lecture series will feature African female academics / holders of expert knowledge, speaking on topics of their choice on a monthly basis. The Nzinga lecture series will provide a regular platform for women of African descent to highlight important issues in  an academic setting. As a result of these lectures a  Black Women in Academia Support Group has been set up.

See  previous Queen Nzingha lectures here


Queen Nzingha Lecture (10) Chocolate, Afros and Secret History (Double Lecture)

The African History of Chocolate

Raw Chocolatier Corinne Dennis will take us on a journey through the African history of chocolate. Corinne is a producer of Chocolat Divinite which is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, diabetics and anyone who just adores chocolate. She will cover:

  • What is Raw Chocolate ?
  • Basics of how to make it
  • The difference between your corner shop chocolate and the real deal
  • How to taste that difference and what to look for
  • The health benefits of chocolate
  • The black history within the chocolate industry
  • Chocolate and  African economics

This talk will also include a taste sampling for those in the front rows

6000 Years of the Afro Comb illustrated talk

K.N. Chimbiri will speak on 6,000 years of African combs from their earliest appearance in the ancient Nile valley to the modern ‘Black Fist’ comb.  She will provide a comprehensive introduction to African combs and reveal what they really tell us about African history, art, power, business, and economics

Miss Chimbiri has just released her third book, Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture to accompany the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition now on at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture is the world’s first book on African combs for children.  In addition to looking at the Afro comb as an art object, the book also discusses questions such as why African hair is curly.  More information available here 

The Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition includes hundreds of remarkable combs from pre-dynastic Egypt to modern-day ‘Black fist’ combs referencing the 1970s Black Power Movement, as well as associated images and sculpture showing the wide variety of hairstyles found in Africa and around the world. The exhibition is open now and runs until 3rd November

Chimbiri is the founder of Golden Destiny publishing house which specialises in non-fiction books particularly ancient Black history for children.  Her first two books, self-published titles are Step back in time to ancient Kush (an activity book about the ancient Sudan) and The Story of Early Ancient Egypt.  Both books are now carried by museums like the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London, the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge, the Neues Museum in Berlin and Barbados’ national museum.

A www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk productionn      

(see our other exciting events at www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk )



Black Girls in Film: Representations of African-American Girlhood in Film , 1963 to 2013. Queen Nzingha Lecture 9

Saturday  14 September 6.30pm to 9.00pm. This event will start at 6.30pm, latecomers will miss out and may not get a seat

Admission free if booked via eventbritehttp://blackgirlsinfilm-eac2.eventbrite.co.uk/  . Donations accepted on the day

Queen Nzingha was an African Queen who fought against the European invasion of southern Africa (Congo/Angola). The Queen Nzingha lecture series will feature African female academics / holders of expert knowledge, speaking on topics of their choice on a monthly basis. The Nzinga lecture series will provide a regular platform for women of African descent to highlight important issues in  an academic setting. As a result of these lectures a  Black Women Women in Academia Support group has been set up

See  previous Queen Nzingha lectures here


Black Girls in Film : Representations of African-American Girlhood in Film, 1963 to 2013

On the 14th September from 2 to 5pm the BFI will screen Spike Lee's Four Little Girls  in honour of the 50th anniversary of this terrorist incident. www.bfi.org.uk 

From 6.30pm Dr Legal-Miller will give an illustrated talk on the representation of the Birmingham church bombing in 1963 and in subsequent years, and how it constructed a contested vision of African American girlhood.

Her talk will also include a brief overview of African American girls in cinema, alongside close readings of the highly critically acclaimed films Precious and Beasts of the Southern Wild, in which the young female protagonists  were both Oscar nominated.  These readings will be placed in the wider context of race, gender, class, celebrity culture and major historical and contemporary events such as the killings of Emmett Till in 1955 and Trayvon Martin.

Dr Althea Legal-Miller previously gave an Nzingha lecture on Sex, Violence and Civil Rights which can be seen here www.youtube.com/blackhistorywalks

About the Speaker: Althea Legal-Miller

Ph.D., American Studies, King’s College London, 2011

M.A., Contemporary Cinema Cultures, King’s College London, Distinction, 2006