NUBA CONVERSATIONS

Arthur Howes
Great Britain 1999 | 53 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with: Arthur Howes

Ten years after he made Kafi’s Story, direc­tor Arthur Howes returns to the Sudan to find the mem­bers of the Nuba tribe who fea­tured in his ear­li­er doc­u­men­tary film . Soon after he had left the Sudan, the moun­tain area they had been living in became the bat­tle­field of the civil war that has been destroy­ing much of the Sudan ever since. With a gov­ern­ment that is attempt­ing to gain absolute con­trol, the people of Nuba have been per­se­cut­ed, deport­ed, and deprived of much of their land. Chil­dren have been put into camps, many of them brain­washed in the mil­i­tary. Many of their fathers have vol­un­tar­i­ly joined the army and are now being forced to fight their own people, as they have not been able to find any other way of making a living. Some of the Nuba people have fled to other coun­tries, such as Ethiopia and Kenya. Groups of women have with­drawn fur­ther into the moun­tains.

Howes, who had a great deal of dif­fi­cul­ty obtain­ing a visa for the Sudan, man­ages to find sev­er­al of the Nuba men and women he filmed back in the late eight­ies, and their tes­ti­monies are, with­out excep­tion, reveal­ing. He suc­ceeds in orga­niz­ing secret screen­ings of Kafi’s Story, which they have never seen before, and the con­trast between their lives then and now is shock­ing. It is rare to hear sto­ries col­lect­ed from so deeply within a com­mu­ni­ty, and which have been given to a for­eign jour­nal­ist who has obvi­ous­ly gained peo­ples’ com­plete trust. Howes gives his per­son­al per­spec­tive during much of his comen­tary. How­ev­er the fact is the sto­ries of the Nuba people hardly need any intro­duc­tion; they are clear and invalu­able doc­u­ments on their own.