UAACC Film makers set to document Kolo Rock Paintings
 By Charlotte Hill OíNeal   (courtesy of ARUSHA TIMES newspaper)            Jan. 2005

The year was 2003 and I was drenched with sweat, my knees and back was aching and my palms were red with little cuts and scratches. My sister, Sharon, perhaps even more tired than me, had burst into tears at her accomplishment once we reached the top of the hill we had climbed. We both stood blankly staring, still a bit numb, at the blood coloured paintings that adorned the smooth surface of the rock caves exterior walls.
It didnít really hit us, until we had drunk a couple of swigs of tepid water and felt our legs once again under us securely, that we were actually looking at the art work of somebodyís hand who had lived probably more than 5,000 years ago! I could hardly imagine the surreal reality of this event and stood grinning like a maniac with the thought.
How could something this old, something so exposed to the natural elements still be preserved to the point where we could actually make out the dreadlocked hair of the dancers and hunters and the bristling fur of their prey? Did the people in the community there in Kondoa, Dodoma Region, visit these sites regularly and recite the history to their children or do they leave admiration of this ancient phenomena to foreigners and city residents and old adventurers like myself?
Well, two young film makers, Anwary Msechu and Samwel Obae, both long time volunteer teachers at the United African Alliance Community Center UAACC, are set to explore these questions and more, in a new documentary film. And even better, they recently received news that they have been awarded a National Geographic All Roads Film Project seed grant for the film they proposed titled, History of the Warangi Tribe and Kolo Paintings!
This is an unprecedented opportunity for these young men not only as new African film makers but also it will prove to be a wonderful chance for people around the world to learn more about an important area of Tanzania that is not well known or documented.
Msechu and Sam are known around Arusha in their capacity as community activists, rappers, HIV/AIDS awareness trainers and directors of the UAACC based Kush Kemet Actors Group, but many people donít know that these two enterprising and creative men have also been taking film making classes and even have a few films to their credit already, excerpts from one on the POV/PBS website, of all places! Talking about starting out with a BANG!
 


Presently Sam and Msechu are continuing their studies in film making and editing here at UAACC with Mr. Gaidi Faraj,
(above holding camera) a volunteer at UAACC who is also serving in the computer department. Additionally, Mr. Faraj who is from California, U.S.A., is working with Sam and Msechu to set up a music studio at UAACC that will serve many of the young musicians in Arusha, especially the underground artists who seldom get a chance to record in the few studios available in A town. The equipment to outfit a complete music studio was recently donated to UAACC by the Oklahoma Health Care Project which is based in America.

 

 
They had the privilege of studying briefly last year 2004, with an award winning director and
cinematographer, Mr. Aaron Matthews (holding camera) of Philadelphia, U.S.A. picking up many helpful tips and techniques.  Also pictured are UAACC resident artist, Perepetua William, explaining one of her paintings.

Obae and Msechu are looking for as much practical experience as possible to push their careers along and they look forward to working with any visiting film companies in Tanzania. They can be contacted at AS&U Film Productions dasuafrica@yahoo.com

 

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