They Are We Bridges The ‘Gap’ Between Africa And The Americas

Bridging the huge gap between Africa and the Americas has been the talking point for many in recent times. It does not come as a surprise that a new documentary called, They Are We has been made, which explores the gap and why it hasn’t reduced as much as we would have would have liked. The documentary follows the journey of an Afro-Cuban family and their African ancestors who lived in Sierra Leone.

The film has been directed by Emma Christopher and had an exclusive premiere in Havana, Cuba in the first week of December. According to their facebook page, we have learnt that the documentary would premiere in the festival season next month at the San Diego Black Film Festival. The festival runs from the 20th of January–2nd February, 2014

Director Christopher said, “Only by a long and arduous search, and with a great amount of luck, did my thousands of informants lead me here, where on my first visit the people looked at my screen in utter astonishment, said “they are we,” and then joined in with the songs.”

Christopher goes on to explain the story. How a young girl called Josefa was taken away during the Transatlantic trade to Cuba in the 1830’s. After she was freed, she taught “her great-granddaughter Florinda her African heritage. Florinda in turn taught her grandson, whom she raised from infancy. He is Humberto Casanova, now himself a great-grandfather. It is Casanova and three of his friends for whom Pokawa and his people are waiting.”

Essentially, the plot revolves around Josefa and how her descendants kept atleast some of their origins alive. The incredible search for their African roots and their attempt to overcome their problems in the pursuit forms the crux of the story.

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