A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Fri 24 June 2011
Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge
Ligali shares some information on the film Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge following the success of the new documentary by LongBelly.
It’s difficult finding documentaries on traditional African spirituality without gratuitous references to the alleged ‘evil’ of juju, voodoo and obeah, so when a packed out cinema in the heart of Brixton clapped and cheered during the recent screening of the film Ancestral Voices we felt it was time to find out a little more.
Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge is a powerful documentary created by between husband and wife team Dalian Adofo & Verona Spence that delivers an educational and spiritual tour de force that is rapidly shedding light on the positive nature of Ancestral traditions whilst successfully challenging deceptive colonial myths and negative stereotypes.
The independent filmmakers funded, produced and directed the documentary which took a year to complete and involved the couple travelling to Ghana to interview traditional priests (Okomfuos) in order to gain an authentic insight into African spiritual practices. They also interviewed a variety of individuals in the UK for their views and understanding of the topic.
What were your motivations for making the film?
Growing up we either only heard or saw negative depictions of African spirituality. As we grew older, we felt the need to question this viewpoint as we could not accept the idea that everything our African Ancestors did was negative or evil.
In addition, we have both in our personal spiritual quests, researched other mainstream religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and New Age teachings, and what we both realized were striking similarities in their tenets with African spiritual teachings. We then embarked on making the documentary to highlight these correlations to show that perhaps they were more similar than most people assumed.
We also wanted to personally understand the true concepts behind the negative labels that had been applied to these practices such as Juju, Voodoo, Obeah etc
What were your expectations for Ancestral Voices?
The expectations we had for the documentary was that it would help to remove the stigma attached to this topic that has over centuries led to African people becoming very ashamed of their own cultural practices and distancing themselves from it.
We felt that it would be an exemplary learning resource to educate people and also act as a tool to stimulate a much-needed discourse on the topic.
Who is your target audience for the film?
The target audience is everyone who is interested in spirituality and our relationship with the Creator and particularly Africans, both on the continent and in the Diaspora, as we found that it is many of them who are especially put off this subject by the negative stigma and fear surrounding it.
Who are LongBelly?
Dalian Adofo is a freelance creative artist who works across a range of media; from graphic design to film and video. He has also been in the teaching profession for over 10 years and also works on a range of youthwork initiatives, both locally in the UK and abroad. He has also written and directed personal shorts and exhibited his artwork.
Verona Spence has been working for the last 8 years in a variety of media roles including on-air promotions, corporate productions and TV distribution amongst others. She has also written, produced and directed personal shorts and more recently taken on documentaries. Her work has also been exhibited in UK film festivals.
Have you seen the film Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge? What are your views on traditional African spirituality?
An educational and spiritual tour de force that is rapidly shedding light on the positive nature of Ancestral traditions whilst successfully challenging deceptive colonial myths and negative stereotypes
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