Tales about lost souls and voodoo
Soul Boy, an acclaimed film which tells the tale of a son’s efforts to reclaim his father’s soul, premièred at the Goethe Centre on Tuesday this week.
The film was shot in Kibera, a slum in Kenya. It tells the story of 14 year-old Abila who lives with his parents. One morning, the teenager wakes up to find that his father’s soul has been “stolen” leaving him ill and delirious.
Abila wants to know what happened when he finds his father hurled up in a corner, shivering. His father tells him that the ‘Nyawawa’, or witch took his soul. Naturally, Abila is shocked and confused but wants to help his father and goes on a search for a suitable cure.
What results is an adventure-filled trip as Abila leaves his home to find the witch and to redeem his father’s soul. With the help of his friend, Shiku, he learns that his father gambled with his soul and then lost it to the ‘Nyawawa’. He eventually finds the witch who is dressed in a long robe and has a cow hoof on one of her legs.
“What do you want here,” the witch askes in a stern voice. The boy simply replies: “I’m here to help my father”. The woman tells Abila that he is too young and cannot help his father. But the boy’s determination to redeem his father’s soul is unmoved. The witch then tells Abila that he can only redeem his father’s soul by performing seven tasks which he must complete before the end of the following day.
People who believe in this sort of thing (witchcraft/black magic or Voodoo), will be able to relate to the film, as most African cultures believe in the existence of witchcraft.
The audience which attended the premier, was touched by the boy’s dedication to his father and got a taste of the African belief system.
Hawa Essuman, director of the film and script writers, Billy Kahora and Tom Tykwe, transformed myths of this multi-faceted social microcosm into a modern fairytale story. ‘Soul Boy’ has won many awards, including the Best Feature Film at the first Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt this year, and the Dioraphte Audience Award at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, Holland.