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Ouaga of the beautiful people


Farai Sevenzo is a Zimbabwean filmmaker and radio presenter. He arrives in Ouagadougou as both. Pitching for backing for his new film and reporting for the BBC World Service.

Follow his Fespaco diary and daily reports from the premiere showcase of African films - Fespaco 2005.

Getting to Ouagadougou is no easy feat.

Farai Sevenzo
Farai Sevenzo

There are very few direct flights a week and if you miss them, as we did, you may be compelled to take the long route.

But all routes to Ouga seem long - we leave London at 6:45 am, arrive in Paris 50 minutes later and manage to figure out that we are scheduled to stop over in Niamey, Niger before eventually arriving in Ouagadougou some seven and a half hours after we began our journey.

The journey is in itself an introduction to Francophone Africa - our Air France
flight is filled with filmmakers making the pilgrimage to the biannual festival of African cinema that is Fespaco.



This is the 19th edition. I feel like a nomad wandering the desert.

Thirsty, we cross the desert and climb over one more sand dune, and there, in the distance is the dust and sparkle of a promised oasis.

I hope Ouga will quench our thirst for evocative images and new thoughts on the African condition.

With over a hundred films on the viewing list, we have a lot to look forward to
Farai Sevenzo

We touch down to a Burkinabe evening, dusty and humid, the thermometer is dancing in the 40's, to an almighty welcome from taxi drivers and immigration officials.

Ouagadougou is many things to African filmmakers - a chance to show their work, to gauge their development in the cinematic arts, to share stories which transcend political borders and languages by using emotions and images.

And then there are the journalists - the morning is a scramble for accreditation, there seems to be hundreds of laptops, cameras, and press people.

And by the evening, the 4th of August Stadium is full - masks, puppets, horses , 30,000 spectators, musicians including the Malian griot Salif Keita stage the opening ceremony in a burst of colour and sound.

With over a hundred films on the viewing list, we have a lot to look forward to.
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