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Holy Encounters


Food in Ougadougou is very good. I had dinner last night in the Eau Vive, a kind of church restaurant.

The “sister” serving us has a tattoo of the sacred heart on her wrist
Farai Sevenzo

A group of nuns run this place, and as you walk in, a statue of the Virgin Mary watches you from a distant grotto.

I sit down and notice that the “sister” serving us has a tattoo of the sacred heart on her wrist, and she is from Peru.

On a continent carved up by 19th century Europe, the pulse of age-old empires still throbs all around us.

The French call the British "roast beef", and the English call the French "frogs", and in the middle Africans still define themselves by their colonial allegiances.

I ordered my starter and went for the frog legs, very tasty they were too – fried in garlic.

I kept thinking about a frog’s bone structure, amazing how they leap about on these springy legs I’m chewing on.

Colonials and hail marys


Jean Marie Teno, from Cameroon has a film here called The Colonial Misunderstanding.

It’s a strong documentary looking at German missionary societies in Africa.

He puts forward the notion that Hitler’s Germany got the big idea of mass extermination from the way earlier German colonisers massacred millions of Africans.

A million of the Herero tribe in Namibia alone.

In the middle of dinner a strange thing happens. The nuns serving us suddenly break into a rendition of “Ave Maria”.

Now I love my God just as much as the next nun, but this seems a bit much.

They stand to attention and keep on hailing Mary, then they ask all of us to join them in prayer.

Le Maletendu Colonial
A scene from the film "A colonial misunderstanding"

More movies to watch – Branwin Okpako is a Nigerian filmmaker I met 12 years ago at the Berlin Film School.

She has a movie here called Valley of The Innocents, it’s a bit of a love hate film – some people love it, some people hate it.

She is here to push her new film, and it’s in competition.

“Zulu Love Letter” by Ramadan Sulieman plays soon.

I met my South African brother in the restaurant and asked him for an interview about love letter – “No, I’m not talking to the BBC, the BBC have no interest in funding African films.” Ouch.

Tomorrow we may meet the president of Burkina Faso, in his village 30km’s out of Ouagadougou.

Need to get my suit pressed.
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