Film: 5907

Religion | 1960 | Sound | Colour


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The spread of Christianity and literacy in the Republic of the Congo through the work of missionaries 1960's

The title screen appears, it is a map of the Congo with two stated locations marked on it, they are Stanleyville and Leopoldville. The screen bares the words 'Christian missions in many lands presents'. These words fade out and are replaced by: Congo Reads. Again the words fade, the next part reads: The challenge of Christian literature in the new Congo.
An African farmer with his cattle standing in what appears to be a small village. The thatched hut of the herdsman (who, the voiceover tells us, is a Christian). A woman (one of the herdsman's daughters) enters the picture, she removes a metal pale from her head and enters the hut while the cattle continue to mill around outside. The herdsman (who is named Tomasi) exiting his home with a bicycle, he has changed his clothes in preparation for a trip into the local village. He mounts his bike and rides off. Several shots follow showing Tomasi riding his bike to the local village. He passes fields of tall grass and many trees, the landscape is very green and lush. Tomasi arriving at the village. Several people are visible, they're also shopping at the village and two women carrying items on their heads pass by. Tomasi parks his bike and then begins to enquire in the local shops as to where he can purchase a Bible. Close up of a small sign which reads : Neno la Imani. This is where Tomasi will buy his Bible. We see him leave his bike outside and proceed to the shop doorway where the shopkeeper warmly greets him and shakes his hand - they enter the shop together. Four African men (apparently they are truck drivers) crossing a dirt road and heading to the village in search of refreshment. We then cut back to the bookshop where the owner takes a Bible from a glass fronted case and hands it to Tomasi who examines the book as he walks outside. The shopkeeper follows with a handful of smaller books that he shows to Tomasi (the voiceover identifies the books as Bible study aids). Tomasi putting the books away in a bag on his bike. We then see Tomasi mount his bike and begin his journey home.

The camera then cuts to a white man wearing a suit and tie, he sits behind a desk in what appears to be a well furnished office. We recognise the voice as that of the narrator, he speaks to the camera and introduces himself as Bill Deans, a missionary to the Congo. The camera pulls back and then cuts to another angle. Bill Deans continues to talk to the camera as he rises from his seat and walks over to stand in front of a world map that occupies one of the walls of the office. Close up of Bill's face (he continues to talk to the camera). Another angle, Bill Deans still talks to the camera (the map is still visible behind him). Deans picks up a pointer and uses it to point at the map. A close up of the map and our attention is directed to the north-east corner of the Republic of the Congo where the printing press has its base. The camera moves in on this area of the map and then cuts to another map much like the one seen during the opening credits. The map shows rivers and the location of Stanleyville. As the voiceover continues new locations (missions) are shown on the map as they're mentioned. They are: Nyankunde and Lolwa. A town called Bunia is then indicated on the map (it is 30 miles south-east of Nyankunde). The camera then pulls back to show more of the map, we can now see all of the Congo and parts of its neighbours (which are shown in varying colours). White arrows then appear on the screen. They emanate in all directions and have as their centre point the town of Bunia. Their purpose is to show the spread of religious writings in Africa and to highlight the importance of places such as Bunia and Nyankunde in spreading the Word of God in Africa as a whole. The camera then closes in on the town of Bunia once again. This shot fades out and we are once again in the office of Bill Deans, he sits behind his desk and talks to the camera.

A surging river, there is a lot of white foam on the surface of the water suggesting the presence of either a waterfall or some rapids. The camera pans right and then cuts to another view of the river which continues to flow at a great pace. Two boats on calmer waters, the camera then pans right to show a waterfall in the background. The surrounding banks of the river are high and densely covered with trees. A bird flying, then cut to another shot of a bird perched on a tree. An elephant, it stands in the shallow water and is drinking. A crocodile entering the river. Several hippopotami in the river. Another shot shows hippos and crocodiles sharing the same patch of water. More shots follow of hippos bathing in the water. A herd of antelope walking along the riverbank. A clearing in a forest, the shots that follow show the crude huts of a pygmy nomad tribe as well as the pygmies themselves (they are seen crouching by an open fire, children , women and men). The tribe involved in a ritual dance. They dance in a circle and many of them have leaves and foliage either covering their groins or on their heads. A woman who wears a disk in her lip. Two women crushing something in an oversized pestle and mortar, several children to the right of the screen stand and watch. A close up follows of the women's` hands and the pestles they hold, this is followed by a close up of the mortar. Two women weaving mats. A workman carving an elephant's tusk, to his left a woman holds up a completed tusk. Village children playing a game in a field. The camera focuses on one of these groups of children and then cuts to a shot of more children playing outside their school. One adult, presumably their teacher, is present. Several shots follow of children (all wearing white) marching in lines of two to four abreast. A small brick building is in the background. Cut to shot of a boy receiving a prize from a teacher, they are inside the school. A large crowd that has assembled to see the presentations (not much can be seen due to the lighting conditions in the hall). Finally cut to shot of a teacher reading from a book.

A street where a military procession is taking place. Many troops (the voiceover says that they are Ethiopian troops of the United Nations) pass by the camera, they carry their weapons on their shoulders. Congolese officials (and an Ethiopian colonel) saluting as the troops pass by. A group of bandsmen walk by, each of them has a drum. A man operating a tractor that has a large shovel attached to the front. Various Congolese men at work in carpentry workshops as well as making cement blocks. Close up of one such man using his machine (which is for making cement blocks). The voiceover says these people learned their skills at the Nyankunde mission. The workman holding a completed cement brick which he then places outside where there are many bricks piled up. A couple emerging from a church. They are recently married, the man wears a suit and tie while the woman has a traditional white wedding dress on. Close up of the happy couple follows (though neither looks particularly happy). Shots follow which show the large congregation as they begin to head home. A woman reading the bible, a close up of her face follows, she mouths the words as she reads them. A large number of bibles, a man is tending to them. Three men moving a small cart that holds a great many hymn books. Panoramic view of the Nyankunde mission. Small white buildings are dotted about amongst the trees, in the background a large flat plane stretches to the horizon. The camera pans right. Cut to a shot of a fairly large brick building. The camera then focuses on the sign above the building, it reads: Editions Evangeliques - it is a printing house. A large group of people standing outside the printers, each holds up a printed sheet of paper. Camera moves in for a closer view of some of these people. An interior view, two men, sitting back to back, are working at their desks. Other men enter the shot and sit down. They begin to examine the various photographs. A close up shows a sheet of paper that they are preparing for printing. Cut to shot of a man tending a wood fire. Over the fire there is a container filled with 'liner-type lead'. The now molten lead being poured into moulds. The completed ingots of lead being extracted from their mould and stacked. A man operating a large machine (possibly used for type-setting). A man setting the type by hand. His work is then screwed securely into a chase which keeps the type in position. Cut to a view of the printing presses. We see various people engaged in activities involving these presses. Several similar shots follow involving various close ups of the machines at work. One such shot shows pages of the magazine 'Neno la Imani' as they're being printed. Next we cut to various further shots of machines used for finishing the magazine. Cut to a shot of a room full of women who are assembling the various pages in the correct order. We then move to a room where two men are using a machine to bind the magazines` pages. A shot follows of a man operating a cutting machine that is used for trimming the pages of the magazine. Next we see two men and one white woman packing the magazines in preparation for their distribution. Then we see a close up of the packages of magazines being put into a postal sack. A shot follows of the truck that is to deliver the magazines, several men are loading sacks onto the truck. Shots then follow which show the magazine finally arriving in the hands of its readers. Various vendors are seen handling copies of the magazine to people in different villages. A man reading to a group of people gathered around him. More shots of people buying the magazine follow, one of them is a soldier in uniform. A vendor selling his wares and taking time to talk to people about the bible.

Two girls laying out copies of the magazine on a table. The camera focuses on the girls as they hold up signs that read: Soma Neno Kila Mubezi, which means: read Neno every month. Close up of the table which bares various editions of the magazine. One of the magazines has a portrait of Patrice Lamumba on the front cover. The two girls standing either side of a board advertising the magazines, it is the same as the one seen previously outside the shop where Tomasi bought his Bible. The board shows that the magazine costs three francs. Close ups follow of each of the two girls and then again we cut to a shot of several of the magazines. Various pamphlets entitled 'Every Home Crusade'. Then a shot of some 'stock tracts' is shown, this is followed by 'Tract of the month', again several editions are shown. More shots of printing presses in action.

A busy market, there are hundreds of people there. A stall selling hot palm fat (an important part of the Congolese diet) which is being poured into bottles by means of a siphon. Close ups follow of various market-goers follow, several of the women carry goods on their heads though it is unclear if they are selling or have just bought the goods. A man with a trumpet. He is surrounded by interested market-goers as he plays hymns. The following shot shows two men handing out tracts to passers-by. Cut back to the man who was playing the trumpet, he is now preaching from the Bible. Return to the two men handing out leaflets. We then see a shot of Andre (the preacher) handing tracts to 'duck-billed women' (those with plates in their lips). Many shots then follow showing people giving and receiving pamphlets and tracts. A soldier reading a small pamphlet. More similar shots follow - even the pygmies are introduced to God's Word. Andre kneeling before some pygmy children and reading the Bible to them in their village of reed huts. People waiting outside a clinic - here they also receive God's Word. A bookshelf, the camera pans down to show all the shelves lined with pamphlets and tracts and so on. A hand enters the frame and removes several leaflets from the shelf. We then return to a shot of a printing press in action. Children surrounded by tall thick grass, they are examining copies of Neno. Classroom interior. Two maps are stuck to the blackboard and a student walks to the front of the class to give a recital. The camera moves to a different view and we see all the students are holding copies of Neno. Three men behind a desk - one stands and reads while the others sit. They are surrounded by prisoners (so the voiceover tells us). The camera pans around this captive audience. A quick cut back to one of the men who is behind the desk, he is reading the Bible to the prisoners. The camera cuts back to the prisoners and then again to the preacher. The prisoners receiving pamphlets and tracts. Some guards, they are also reading a copy of the magazine. Prisoners all holding magazines. In the final shot they are being led in a hymn by one of the preachers. Several men stacking packages one on top of the other. A man is opening the packages and distributing Bibles to people. Many more people begin to crowd around all eager for a copy of the Bible. A pygmy evangelist, he is holding a Bible. Cut to shot of another preacher handing out pamphlets. The final shots show many hands clamouring for a Bible.

Back to Bill Deans sitting behind his desk and talking to the camera. A close up of various copies of Neno. Bill Deans` head, the publications are still visible on his desk. The camera cuts back to a frontal view of Bill Deans and slowly closes in. Camera cuts to a close up of Deans from a different angle. The final shot is of many Africans waving magazines and pamphlets. The end.

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