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51 Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, but at the same time a centre for film and theatre in Africa. Nevertheless the German film and theatre director Christoph Schlingensief’s visions of enhancing the village of Laongo’s cultural identity with a new opera may not on the face of it seem like the best solution to the poverty of the region. When a storm struck the village and almost devastated it, the Burkinian architect Francis Kéré saw the potential to rebuild – and redefine – the village as an opera town in collaboration with Schlingensief. The funding from the opera project was used to build a new school, new homes and a new hospital. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: Schlingensief’s and Kéré’s project is a collaboration of locals and foreigners that is about the flexible absorption of something fundamentally foreign. Kéré Architecture / Burkina Faso: Opera Village, Laongo, Burkina Faso, Under construction Ten years after the 1994 genocide, as close to 16,000 suspects, still untried, are released across the country: having confessed to their crimes, and served the maximum sentence the Gacaca will eventually impose, they are sent home to plow fields and fetch water alongside the people they are accused of victimizing. In Rwanda we say … The family that does not speak dies focuses on the release of one suspect, and the effect of his return on this tiny hillside hamlet. What unfolds is an astonishing testament to the liberating power of speech: little by little, people begin to talk in a profound and articulate way – first to the camera, and then to each other – as these neighbours negotiate the emotional task of accepting life side by side. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: The Gacaca court system in Rwanda is an example of a strong commitment to openness even when this is extremely painful. The film shows that coexistence is not rose-coloured, but rather the best choice if you look at the alternative. Anne Aghion / France: In Rwanda   We Say … The Family That Does   Not Speak Dies, 2005 Bouabré’s artistic activity was formed by a revelation he had on 11 March 1948 in Dakar. The Heavens opened before my eyes, and seven radiantly coloured suns formed a circle of beauty around the mother sun. I became Cheik Nadro, ‘He Who Does Not Forget’. This was a turning point. From then on his life was dedicated to working as an artistic chronicler: one who describes the situation of the world in images and text. One of the most striking projects was to create an alphabet consisting of 448 onesyllable pictograms for the Bété people, whose language was not recognized in the French colonial era, and who could therefore not be taught in their own language. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: Bouabré’s project links two different cultures: oral storytelling and the Latin written tradition. It re-orients the tools of colonial power so they are used for a positive purpose. Bouabré’s alphabet, which can transcribe all human sounds, is meant to fulfil his fundamental ambition: to achieve universality and unite mankind. Nurith Aviv / France: L’Alphabet de Bruly Bouabré, 2004 Frédéric Bruly Bouabre / Ivory Coast: Alphabet Bêté, 1982 Courtesy of CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection, Geneve


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