African Movie Theaters

My husband pasted this article on to me, Africans improvise the movie house. I thought it was apt, as I’ve seen a few of this during my time in Africa.

Recently at a large Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp I saw one of these. Staff that frequently visit the camps said that as long as there is generator fuel you can find the place packed with men and children all day long. While I can’t say much for the contribution to productivity, perhaps it does reduce stress and prevent these guys from getting into trouble elsewhere.

Back when I worked in DRC a few years ago we ran an internet cafe for educational purposes. There was some debate about the showing of movies. On the one hand, charging admission for watching movies provided an additional revenue stream to support the costs of the center. On the other hand, it was argued that only educational movies should be shown. At the time, Blood Diamonds was the hot movie of the day. I figured that while the movie isn’t necessarily educational in nature, it does show Africans another view of the issues at hand and gives them a look at the perspective we have on the diamond trade. I figured it is a cultural education if nothing else.

Back when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, DVDs were just getting a foot hold in Africa. The one cinema in Accra was pretty much dysfunctional, but there was a new kind of movie house available. There was a house in an expat neighborhood that had the rooms set up with various types of seating, ranging from a couple of people to groups of around ten. You would then select a DVD and rent the room for viewing. Even with the pitfalls of pirated DVDs it was still loads of fun!



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