Nearly two weeks after beginning a new position as Knowledge Management Specialist at African Women’s Development Fund, or AWDF, I joined our team in hosting the 2nd African Women in Film Forum – AWIFF, in Accra September 23-25. The forum featured a delightful array of intimate speaker sessions and workshops at the African Regent Hotel and free film screenings at Alliance Française d’Accra and the National Film and Television Institute, or NAFTI. Participants came from near and far including: Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, U.S., U.K., and France. The three days zipped by in a whirlwind of creative conversations by filmmakers, writers, activists, researchers, actors, producers and students on how to sustain African women to share their stories with the world.
The forum engrossed us in the crosshairs of many stories. Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Communications Specialist at AWDF and the lead organizer of AWIFF, did a brilliant job making all feel welcome and comfortable. Her sincere and persistent focus on creating evolving discussions and action steps on the way forward was inspiring. Therefore, we were compelled to share our experiences or what Dr. Beti Ellerson called “a plurality of perspectives” with one another. Day by day, narratives kept unfolding — stories of forced exile and bittersweet return in Yaba Badoe’s The Witches of Gambaga; stories between grandmothers, mothers and daughters that trigger the pulse of diasporic longing in Sarah Bouyain’s Children of the White Man and The Place in Between; stories that re-imagine myth-making through the portal of a father’s funeral, Akosua Adoma Owusu’s Kwaku Ananse; stories that search for answers in the dense mine fields along the Zimbabwean border, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s On the Border.
As a researcher and archivist, my job is all about mining stories.
Digging for stories in the field to understand how AWDF impacts grantees is a pivotal part of my mission. Cultivating the organizational narrative and helping our staff, donors, partners and grantees to see how our stories and solutions are interconnected. Sharing new information with all stakeholders about how our work matters and the many ways we can captivate with our stories. Stories show us the magic of life, of journeys with no fixed end in sight but rather boundless paths leading to exploration, discovery and possibility.
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