Friday, October 24th
2 films screening back to back about Che Gueverra's time in Congo + Q&A w/ special guest
Tatu: Che in Congo
Dir. Jorges Fuentes
1997, 56 min.
In 1965, Cuba sent an expeditionary force to eastern Congo to train Marxist rebels in the fight against Congo's American-backed central government. The Cuban Expedition was led by none other than Che Gueverra who, under the code-name "Tatu" ("Three" in Swahili) cemented himself a place in Congo's history. Fuentes' rarely screened film is an account of Che's travels and political influence, as told by the Cubans and Congolese who knew and fought alongside him.
Freddy Ilanga: Che's Swahili Translator
Dir. Katrin Hansing
2013, 24 min.
Freddy Ilanga, a fifteen-year-old Congolese youth, became Che Guevara’s personal Swahili teacher and translator during the Cuban Expedition to Congo. After seven intense months by Che’s side, the Cuban authorities sent Freddy to Cuba, displacing him from his family and abruptly changing his life. Hansing's film captures Ilanga's recollections of his time with Che, and his reconnecting with his family after 40 years of separation.
Followed by post-screening discussion with special guest Ofunshi Oba Koso
Jorge Fuentes is a film director, screenwriter, poet, and author. He received a degree in Hispanic Language and Literature from the University of Havana, and has published several articles on art criticism. He has taught and lectured in Mexico, Belgium, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Dominican Republic and United States, and currently teaches at the International School of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños and the Higher Institute of Art, University of the Arts in Cuba. He began working in film in 1971, as camera assistant for documentaries and news. His television debut, The Grand Rebellion, aired in 1982, followed by Cabinda in 1987. Both films received several national and international awards. Jorge is a member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and has earned national distinctions from the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the Higher Institute of the Arts, and the Ministry of Higher Education.
Katrin Hansing is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Baruch College (CUNY). Prior to her tenure at Baruch she was the Associate Director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University in Miami. As an anthropologist she has spent the last thirteen years conducting research in the Caribbean (especially Cuba) and Southern Africa and its diasporas. Dr. Hansing received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and is the author of numerous publications including the book Rasta, Race, and Revolution: The Emergence and Development of the Rastafari Movement in Socialist Cuba (2006). Currently she is working on a new book about contemporary Cuban youth.
Ofunshi Oba Koso is a traditional healer and spiritual diviner known as a Babalawo from the Yoruba religious tradition. In addition to his work as spiritual guide to many, he is also actively involved in global movements to educate and improve the lives and conditions of Africans and African descendants. A self-defined “product of Cuba’s internationalism,” who grew up in revolutionary times in Cuba, Ofunshi was raised under the tutelage of Freddy Ilunga, Victor Dreke (second-in-command of Che’s guerilla unit in Congo) and other key historical revolutionaries. Ofunshi’s most recent activities include serving as a member of the International Coordinating Committee and panelist for the First World Summit of Afro-Descendants held in Honduras (August 2011), presenting a paper on spirituality and tradition at the International Meeting of Writers and Poets of African, Indigenous, and Sino Descent in Costa Rica (October 2011), and serving as delegate to the United Nations for the General Assembly high level meeting on the 10th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (September 2011). Baba Ofunshi also serves as a member of the steering committee for the new Department of Afro-descendent, Indigenous and Sino-descendent Studies at the National University of Costa Rica. Baba Ofunshi holds a degree in Cultural Analysis and Promotion from the University of Havana, where he also earned undergraduate certificates in Public Relations and Marketing, and a graduate level certificate in Social Anthropology and Religious Studies.
Maurice Carney is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Friends of the Congo. He has worked with Congolese for over fifteen years in their struggle for peace, justice and human dignity. Mr. Carney possesses two bachelors degrees, a masters degree and is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science. He has worked with civic associations in West Africa providing training on research methodology and survey. He served as the interim Africa working group coordinator for Reverend Jesse Jackson while he was Special Envoy to Africa. Mr. Carney has worked as a research analyst for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and as a research consultant for the Congressional Black Caucus. He has provided analysis on the Congo for Al Jazeera, ABC News, Democracy Now, Real News Network, Pambazuka News, All Africa News, and a host of other media outlets.