My friend, Grace Rwaramba, asked me to attend a movie screening of Africa United this evening. Being from Rwanda, Grace is passionate and incredibly proud about her country and culture, and wanted to support this film. Having no expectations, I went to attend the screening hosted by one of the producers, Eric Kabera, at a small theater at the Academy of Motion Pictures.
What a delight this movie turned out to be! It's a story about 3 children who take a road trip to South Africa after ending up in the Congo, instead of Kigali, for a soccer audition for the 2010 World Cup. Eleven year orphan "Dudu" - who is cunning, street smart and can create a soccer ball out of condom while educating children on its importance - serves as a "manager" for his middle class friend, Fabrice, who is a soccer prodigy. The cast of characters also includes Dudu's sister, Beatrice, an aspiring doctor, a young prostitute, Celeste, and Foreman George, a teenager who has faced the brutality of a war torn country. Each ones story has disappointment, hope and redemption weaved together.
The movie addresses some of the big issues of Africa today - from the genocides in Rwanda to war, AIDS and HIV testing, prostitution, the plight of orphans and education - but creates a balance which shows the humanity, hope and adventure of children no matter what their background.
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