I am back with my one pager Documentary Journal for Dr.Gus’ BBC Films. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that this a task I am doing for my Social Theory class. More of analysing history and several philosophical thoughts.
Prompt #. How do you think the title of this film relates to its content? Discuss.
Even though the title is ‘The Great Zimbabwe’, I found the content highly unrelated to the title. Perhaps the documentary could have been named ‘The Swahili,’ Or the Eastern Coast, The rituals of Manyikeni or even Mapungubwe, since in my opinion, these are the topics the film covers. Up to half way through the film, Dr. Gus is still taking his audience around the Eastern African Coast, Mozambique, and the interior while Zimbabwe itself is barely in there. One could defend that BBC had been earlier denied the opportunity to film in Zimbabwe but seems to make totally no difference as even when permission was finally granted, the audience could have heard the tales from the people of Zimbabwe as a nation. Not the representation of a country’s history by a group of less than twenty people.
Despite the fact that Zimbabwe was mentioned, that the documentary covered at least the eleven meters tall Great wall of Zimbabwe, I found a very small relationship between the title and the content.
WATCH VIDEO HERE…
From the beginning, Dr. Gus travels around Kilwa, in Tanzania, unveiling the hidden wealth and history of the East African coast. He unveils how Kilwa was a gateway to the coast through its Gold market, its major supplier being the Great Zimbabwe, likewise the filming of Manyikeni in Mozambique. In my opinion, this documentary was not about Zimbabwe and neither was it about Tanzania or Mozambique.
It was rather about specific places in these particular countries. The film was about Kilwa and its Gold trade, it was about The Great Mosque of Kilwa, and it was about the Manyikeni in Mozambique, about the rituals of ‘spiritual blessings’ at both Manyikeni and the Zimbabwe Highlands. These were the only detailed places and the film seemed largely focused about them. The documentary lacked the richness of the evidently missing people and culture of the Great Zimbabwe. There was very little evidence even in making the connections. This documentary, in comparison to others like that of ‘the lost Kingdoms of Africa: West Africa or Ethiopia’ where the evidence was floating before the viewer’s eyes, was way not detailed at all. It seemed to have touched the surface instead of the core, unfortunately for me since the title of the documentary had triggered a lot of excitement and expectations.
WATCH VIDEO HERE OR ABOVE…
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the video after you’ve watched it… Enjoy!