ZINDER, THE SEEDS OF VIOLENCE
Director(s): Aicha MACKY – Writer(s): Aicha MACKY Contact Print page
Niger is one of the vastest countries in West Africa; two-thirds of its land lies in the Sahara Desert. The city of Zinder, the setting of the film, was the first capital established by French colonists of Niger in 1898… Officially called Zinder, its inhabitants still refer to it as ‘Damagaram’ , an allusion to the Sultanate of the same name which founded the original city, and to the rejection of colonization. This rejection can be seen in the behaviour of a large part of the population which disapproves of anything Western. And a majority of the young men are unemployed…
Out of work, out of hope, and most of them, sadly, candidates for exile, the youth are filling the ranks of the "gangs" spreading violence through Zinder, Niger, the hometown of the director of this film. Locally, the gangs are known as "palaces". Their members imitate the bad-boy style of Black American ghettos: heavy gold chains round their necks, T-shirts with pictures of Hollywood stars, low-slung faded jeans, walking with a swagger... They hit the headlines for various spectacular reasons, some of them tragic, feeding the climate of fear and psychosis in Zinder, and more widely in the Sahel region.
At nightfall, in an alleyway in "Karakara" (straw hut), a neighbourhood perched on a hill of ochre sand, while some do weights or practice fighting techniques, others sit around a pot of tea, listening to music, telling stories and piercing the mystery of their lives. They are born Muslims but they live far outside of the boundaries of Islam as they practice everything forbidden by the religion: theft, rape, drug-taking, negligence or abandonment of prayer and non-observance of Ramadan...
For her new documentary project, Aicha Macky (« The Fruitless Tree ») will put to use her training as a sociologist and her passion and experience in cinema, to explore these seeds of violence which are being sown throughout her country and the African continent.