Prelude: A Song About Love

Prelude: A Song About Love

Zoë Modiga, “Abantu” (still), 2020. Video directed by Tse’liso Monaheng as part of #katarasessions.

The African Film Institute

Prelude: A Song About Love

Admisison starts at $5

September 19, 2023, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, September 19 at 7pm for A Song About Love, a prelude to an ongoing series of events and other activities to be organized under the umbrella of the African Film Institute.

Taking music videos as a serious category of cinematic force, this preliminary program will present a festive evening of visual poems sourced collectively from the members of the community of collaborators, supporters, and partners of the African Film Institute. The transgeographic offering will range from pioneering works in the genre as it relates to the African lifeworlds, traversing through its contemporary forms, and journeying into sonic cultures described from within and beyond Afrofuturism: works that—as anthropologist Natacha Nsabimana and scholar Adom Getachew describe—speculate about futures through contemporary artistic and scholarly productions that imagine realistic, mythical, and fantastic potentials out of the conundrums of the present.

Such works of culture offer playful and experimental laboratories for filmmakers, cinematographers, and producers to explore aspects of their work otherwise impossible within the formal cinematic medium alone. Music videos are obviously works of the popular imaginaries that chart artistic aspirations, while giving rhythm to the societal changes, and recording the global order of technological shifts. As such, music videos help to map aesthetic alliances as well as cultural power centers and their influences onto their peripheries.

Through music video, the evening will play back a number of tenets and pedagogical outlooks to be explored over the years by means of trans-institutional practices at the heart of the African Film Institute. These questions include the tensions caused by the competing commercial interests, social values, and global norms of the West, the East, and Africa; questions of how to trace histories, genealogies, and knowledge within the absences, breaks, but also overcomings such as they are expressed through the medium of (film) festivals; the place of religion, the sacred, and the profane in culture and society; political engagement and the freedom not to engage politically;  gender-based violence; regional alliances; state and institutional patronage in cinema; mobility, displacement, borders, and exile; nation, states, land, and territory; earths, waters, ecologies, and extractions, etc. In the face of such crushing conditions, love, affection, and tenderness become forms of protest and instruments for placemaking and worldmaking, articulated in self-fashioning, voicings, lyrics, movement, dance, and more.

Finally, the irreverently transgeographic cultural assemblage that characterizes some of the selected music videos helps to outplay the perennial isolation onto which African cinema is rightly or wrongly said to be subjected. Lessening such isolation involves insisting not only on an antinational approach, but also to practice trans-institutional circulations where the collaborating practitioners and institutions are located. Above all, the African Film Institute is an invitation to gather, to learn, and to practice in, with, and alongside African cinema, here in New York and far beyond.

With videos featuring Francis Bebey, Mbilia Bel, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, CKay, Davido, Zinja Hlungwani, Angelique Kidjo, Libianca, Miriam Makeba, Tshala Muana, NakhaneMonique Seka, Papa Wemba, and more.

Introduced by Christian Nyampeta.

For inquiries addressed to the African Film Institute, please write to

For general and press inquiries, contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.          
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.                   
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Music
Africa, Love
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The African Film Institute

Christian Nyampeta is an artist, filmmaker, and researcher living in New York, and working in London, the Netherlands, and Rwanda where he convenes the Nyanza Working Group of the Another Roadmap African Cluster (ARAC). In New York Nyampeta sits on the Board of Directors at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, and he is on the board of November magazine. Nyampeta holds a PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths completed under the supervision of Kodwo Eshun, following the examination of Leela Gandhi and Denise Ferreira da Silva.

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