The University of Iowa

Crisis in African educational film is topic of April 25 Baraza lecture

April 14th, 2011

What: The University of Iowa African Studies Program’s spring Baraza lecture series
When: Monday, April 25, at noon
Where: 1117 UCC
Topic: “The Stability of Crisis: The Cycle of Need and Aid in African Educational Film”
Presented by: Allison McGuffie

All Baraza lectures are free and open to the public.

Through analysis of both film content and the transnational industrial structure of non-profit educational film and video production in Sub-Saharan Africa, this presentation delineates the rhetorical and economic mechanisms by which a master narrative of perpetual crisis is written about Africa for the international aid community. It further illustrates the cinematic strategies by which this narrative is repeated and reinforced in the very films and videos intended for African audiences.

This presentation traces the elaboration of a narrative of crisis in African educational film from its earliest manifestations, including the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment and the Colonial Film Unit in British Central Africa, to more recent iterations, such as Media For Development International of Tanzania and Steps for the Future of South Africa.

McGuffie is a Ph.D. Candidate in Film Studies in the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature. She is currently writing her dissertation on the industry and ideology of African Educational Film and Video.

The Swahili word “baraza” roughly translates to “meeting” or “forum” in English. The series brings a combination of UI and external scholars, graduate students, faculty and practitioners in various fields to the university for lectures on interdisciplinary research in African studies.

International Programs and the African Studies Program are sponsoring the series.

To view the entire series schedule, visit For more information, contact Leo Eko at or 319-353-1926.