Africa Invades the Pan African Film Festival with iamAFRICA; Closes Festival Out with ‘Zulu Wedding’

“Unity is strength, the division is weakness. ”

-Swahili proverb

Each winner’s film from the iamAFRICA competition had a very powerful message. In EYELASH the importance of telling that person that you love them and your true feelings and emotions while they are here was the synopsis of the film. Often times we get frightened or so scared of rejection, that we decide not to tell that person how we truly feel, and then when they’re gone, we regret it and all along that person could have just been waiting for you to step up to the plate.

In MIRACLE it showed that unwavering faith and how when we try to do things on our own, it just doesn’t work. MIRACLE showed us how to remain patient and keep our faith when things get hard and that God always has our back. He just works on a different time than us.

WHO KNOWS displayed the struggle to get out of our circumstances and make something out of ourselves. The film showed a street dance team danced as a means to escape their current realities. They chased and lived in their dreams and basically had that faith of a mustard seed. WHO KNOWS what can come out of something.

THE LETTER READER’s overall message was about the fantasies that go through a young boy’s mind when he is infatuated with an older woman who he knows he can’t have. But he goes through different means just to see her and be around her. In his mind, as long as she is in his presence, he already has her in a sense.

Photo Credit: Naomi K. Bonman

The iamAFRICA competition winners. From left to right: Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Mpendulo Myeni, Bongi Ndaba, and Nick Wambugu.

On Sunday, February 23, it was the closing night of PAFF featuring the film ‘Zulu Wedding”. Now just to be transparent, I almost did not go. A couple hours before leaving, I had cramps and I was thinking, “Well, the only main celebrity in tonight’s film is Darrin Henson, I seen him several times”; however, something told me to take some pain meds and go. Within minutes I was feeling better and went and I’m so glad I did! For me to be there it was definitely divine intervention.

Zulu Welcome

Zulu Wedding is a MUST-SEE not to mention it is currently in the number 3 spot in South Africa and Joker is in number 2, so that right there should let you know how powerful this film is. And the other actors in the film, are also very well-known in Africa. So, Darrin was just the most well-known on an American stand-point, but aside from that point, if you follow Purposely Awakened on a consistent basis, then you probably remember our history lesson on the Zulu people. Please read up on them and then support this movie.

Zulu Wedding is directed by Lineo Sekeleoane and it is about Lu who left South Africa and her Zulu-Sotho heritage behind to become a dancer in America. When she falls in love with an African American, she knows he’s the man to marry. But when she brings him home to meet her family, she discovers she’s been promised since birth to marry a king in the Zulu kingdom.

Zulu Wedding won the Festival Director’s award in the 2020 PAFF. Congratulations are definitely in order to the phenomenal cast and crew! The film stars Nondumiso Tembe (Lu), Darrin Henson (Tex), Pallance Dladla (PRINCE ZWELIBANZI ZULU), Carl Anthony Payne (Nate), Makgano Mamabolo (Mabo), Jerry Phele (UNCLE PHINEAS SABATA), Kgomotso Christopher (Rene), Bubu Mazibuko (Sam), Lorcia Cooper (MARANG), Treasure Tshabalala (UNCLE CAIPHUS), Kelly Khumalo (YVONNE SABATA), Sthandiwe Kgoroge (NOBUNTU), Makoya Bearings a.k.a. DJ Tira (himself), and Sandzisiwe Magagula (COUSCOUS SABATA).

From left to right: Charmal Sanders (founder of LyLyLs Foundation); Lineo Sekeleoane (Director of Zulu Wedding); and Naomi K. Bonman

The cast and crew was the perfect blend of the future! The future of African American’s and Africans working together to create greatness. We, as African American’s (Black American’s) need to start getting back to our roots. We need to fully embrace our African brother’s and sisters because we need them more than they need us. We need to abandon the stereotypes that American media has placed in our heads to get us to not want to go back. Africa has resources. Our people in Africa are living well, but American TV will NEVER show that. They only want us to see the poverty stricken areas of the continent to keep us away, but in reality, the United States probably as more poverty than in other place in the world.

Breaking the Stereotypes

The current count of homelessness in Los Angeles is 59,000, that’s not counting surrounding areas in Southern California (San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside Counties)—most of it is due to mental health issues, above everything, yet the Government, State and City is doing nothing about. No temporary housing, counseling, etc. But that is another topic for another article.

This movie overall is the perfect drama-comedy that is also about self-discovery. Sometimes it takes us to get out of our current environment that we have been used to and to be confronted with an issue at hand in order for us to tap back to our roots and to find out who we really are and what truly matters to us. There are also a few history moments in the film, such as the one that they describe in the video below.

A Cultural History Lesson

Working Together: Unity Between Africans and African Americans


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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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