Buddha in Africa
14 september 2019
16 : 15
Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage, feels torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year of school, has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan? Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the forces of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.
Directed by: Nicole Schafer
Screenplay: Nicole Schafer
Production: Thinking Strings Media and Momento Film
Producer: Nicole Schafer
Editing: Bernhard Winkler, Mary Stephen, Catherine Meyburgh, Nicole Schafer
Cinematography: Nicole Schafer
International sales: CAT & Docs
Running time: 90’
Country: South Africa and Sweden
Contacts: Maëlle Guenegues | CAT&Docs | firstname.lastname@example.org
I first came across the story of the Chinese Buddhist orphanage while I was living in Malawi, producing features for Reuters Africa Journal. I was working on a story about orphans at the time that Madonna was adopting her second child, Mercy. At this time Malawi and other parts of Africa, were experiencing a rapid influx of Chinese investment and Chinese nationals – following the formalising of Malawi’s diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. I felt this story would be a fascinating lens through which to view and engage in the debates around the implications of China’s involvement in Africa.