Afrika Eye 2012 celebrates the power of healing

Afrika Eye 2012 celebrates the power of healing in Africa

Special ‘STATE OF MIND’ session launches today, Saturday 10th November, featuring two films from the Congo and a Therapy panel discussion


In addition to celebrating 50 years of independence for Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Africa Eye film festival 2012 – which returns to Bristol’s Watershed, 9th-11th November – commemorates the power of healing trauma in Africa.

A special session on Saturday 10th November comprising of two films from Africa’s war torn Congo and a panel seminar, explores two types of healing.

Ingrid Sinclair, Director of Afrika Eye and curator of the festival’s healing strand explains:

“One type of healing, which comes from the outside, proves very effective. The other comes from the people themselves. Together these two forms of healing demonstrate that there is rarely just one solution for violent trauma.”

The first film, WEAPON OF WAR, is a documentary looking at rape as a weapon, where the interviews are with rapists not victims. Wherever war breaks out, men with guns rape. During decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, possibly hundreds of thousands of women and girls were savagely raped. In WEAPON OF WAR, military perpetrators unveil what lies behind this brutal behaviour and the strategies of rape as a war crime.

Captain Basima works as an army priest and confronts perpetrators of rape, urging them to change as he has done. An ex-rebel explains how he raped and how, as for many ex-soldiers, starting a normal life again is a struggle filled with trauma. In an attempt to reconcile with his past and to obtain forgiveness, he decides to meet one of his victims.

And then the flagship film for the healing strand is STATE OF MIND: HEALING TRAUMA, which explores the notion that in war torn countries people cannot be productive and develop until they overcome their trauma. In the film, pioneering US trauma therapist Albert Pesso is invited to Kinshasa in the Congo, host to 1.5 million Rwandese refugees and where over 5 million people have been killed. His mission is to train local health practitioners to treat post traumatic stress disorder.

Ingrid Sinclair says: “The film shows health care workers, many of whom are themselves traumatised Rwandan refugees, being healed during the training process and provides an intriguing insight into a national collective trauma and this bold healing initiative.”

Finally the panel seminar featuring local therapists and healers will explore the experience of healing trauma and what we can learn from these films.

In addition to Saturday’s special “healing” themed session for the above two Congolese films and panel, the festival will close on Sunday with KINSHASHA SYMPHONY, another remarkable film from the Congo, tying in with the healing theme. The film features a 200 strong symphony orchestra playing Beethoven’s Ninth before interrupted by a power cut. The musicians’ love of playing music keeps their spirits up amid the prevailing horrors of war, poverty and challenging life conditions.

Ingrid Sinclair says:

“Many of those interviewed from the orchestra in this film say that singing in this piece helps them to free themselves and it celebrates the healing power of music.”


  •   WEAPON OF WAR screens Sat 10th Nov 14.30–15.30 (18). Dir: Ilse & Femke van Velzen. Netherlands/Congo . Tickets £5.00/£3.50 Concs
  •   STATE OF MIND screens Sat 10th Nov 15.45–16.40 (18). Dir: Djo Tunda wa Munga. Congo. Tickets: £5.50/£4.00 Concs
  •   STATE OF MIND SEMINAR runs Sat 10 Nov 17.00–18.00. Tickets: £5.50/£4.00 Concs 
  •   KINSHASHA SYMPHONY screens Sun 11th Nov 18.30-20.05 (18). Dir: Claus Wischmann, Martin Baer Congo/Germany Tickets: £8.00/£ 6.50 Concs
  •   For ticket/booking information visit or call the Watershed box office on 0117 927 5100.
  • For more details about Afrika Eye film festival visit;; Twitter @AfrikaEyeFestAfrika Eye

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