Film: 8909

Places + Locations | 1980 | Mute | Colour

Clip:

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Synopsis:

West Zambia, Africa, specifically the Barotse flood plain area and home of the Lozi people 1980's

Close up view of black men with poles, most likely pushing a dug-out canoe through a wetlands area. Out of focus reeds can be seen in the foreground. Wide angle panning view across vast savannah and marshland in Zambia.
At river level, a view from a boat as it passes a village of thatched huts and wildlife on the banks. Flat swamp area as far as you can see. A village, men are attaching a shade cover to a canoe. Children in the village. Local villagers drumming and a camp fire at night. Travelling through the wetlands filmed at water level at sunrise, passing village huts.
A large group of African men wearing red berets get off a boat. Preparation for a Kuomboka ceremony. A man talks to them as a group and they then start tying animal skins around their waists. The men sit on the grass while one man speaks to them. Some men are winding grass or reeds around oars. One man speaks to camera. The decorated oars are then charred over an open fire. Men move drums and other instruments plus armchairs and seating. A crowd walks through an open area, led by some men in suits. The group reach the water and board a very long low black and white striped boat. A man speaks to camera.

A kuomboka ceremony, a ritual of the Lozi people of the Barotse flood plain in Zambia, Africa.
The long boat is rowed along the river by many men in ceremonial dress of red hats and animal hide skirts, all rowing standing up with long poles. Most of the men are bare chested. There is a white tented section in the middle of the boat. The boat is viewed with marshland and reeds in the foreground, then close ups of the men poling the boat through the water. Smaller canoes accompany the main vessel through the wetlands. The main boat as it heads toward the camera. A red flag with a white elephant printed on it, flies on the front of the boat, the flag of Litunga. Good close ups of the men rowing. Many makoros or dug out canoes follow the procession. A long line of canoes push their way through the thick reeds. The boats arrive at their destination, by which time hundreds of people are waiting on the shore. Those on shore dance. The men disembark from the boat. A view up the river at sunset as the smaller boats keep arriving. At dusk the last people get off the large boat in ceremonial uniform.

The final section of the film is during daylight. The camera follows a man as he walks, he wears a pale blue suit with hat – he appears to be an important man. On the wetland Lozi people paddle smaller canoes. The main Kuomboka ceremonial boat is being rowed through the flood plain. Close up of the Litunga flag. The boat continues through the water.


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