The Donkey That Carried The Cloud On Its Back


© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann

Director: Philippa Ndisi-Hermann
Producer: Atieno Odenyo
Category: Documentary
Language: English
Crowdfunding period: 12th of November – 22th of December

The International Documentary Film Festival and CineCrowd present a special crowdfunding campaign from Kenya: The Donkey that Carried the Cloud on its Back. The film, by Philippa Ndisi Hermann and Atieno Odenyo also received financial support from the IDFA Bertha Fund and participated in the IDFA WorldView Summer School last July.

This documentary feature film is about the Kenyan island, Lamu, which is an island frozen in time. Now, Africa’s largest port is being constructed there. It was once a rich trading town and the East African coast gave rise to a new culture and a new people – the Swahili. Lamu town survived and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

The port foundation stone was laid last year. At a cost of 3.5 billion USD, the port will be capable of handling ships almost half the size of the island of up to 100,000 tonnes. Lamu Island has one car and more than 3000 donkeys. Electricity is provided by generators and there is no modern water sewage system. Marginalised economically by mainland Kenya. Lamu relies on tourism where backpackers rub shoulders with the Princess of Monaco.

foreboding change

The use of still photos in the documentary is so as to evoke the possibility of foreboding change. © Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann


A baptism at the shore of the Indian Ocean. Lamu island is predominantly Muslim. The Baptists came from a town 1000 km away. Aug 2013
© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann

The advent of the port is giving rise to land speculations, to environmental concerns, to the influx of people, change is coming, change is needed. Is this what the port will bring?

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African Arts Indaba 19 – 21 June 2013


You are invited to the Arts and Culture Indaba by the African Arts Institute to be held from 19-21 June 2013 at the City Hall, Cape Town, South Africa.

This 3-day live and interactive research event organized by the Arts and Culture Department of the City of Cape Town, will seek to engage significant decision-makers and experts in various arts and culture-related fields to share their expertise and develop strategies to influence the arts and culture arena in Cape Town.

The African Arts Institute (AFAI) was launched in February 2009 with a grant from Spier to establish an entity that would work in the creative sector across the continent. It was also launched to house the secretariat of the Arterial Network, a continent-wide body dedicated to advancing the African creative sector. Africa has a wealth of creative talent and abundant natural and human resources. It is also a continent that faces numerous developmental and political challenges, many of which interface with culture. Artists and cultural workers play significant roles in addressing these challenges but conditions on the continent are not always conducive to the rights and the status that artists should enjoy.

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Exhibition | Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery, Nairobi


Alliance Française & UNESCO Regional Office for East Africa presents a photo-text exhibition on the occasion of  the 13th anniversary of the French National Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade, Slavery and its abolition.

The exhibition offers an inspiring look at the cultural, political, economic and social practices enslaved Africans developed while enduring the dehumanizing conditions of slavery.
Produced by The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library, in conjunction with the UNESCO Slave Route Project, the exhibition is unique in that it focuses less on enslaved Africans as victims and more on the ways in which they reshaped their destinies and place in history through the creation of distinct cultures.


Among the chief guests at the opening included Ms. Stephanie Seydoux, Deputy Head of Mission for the French Embassy, Mr. Mohammed Djelid, Director of Unesco Regional Office for Eastern Africa and officials from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The UNESCO production Slaves Route: A Global Vision was screened on this occasion followed by presentation/discussions on‘”From Old to New Forms of Slavery: Lest we forget” by Mr Radoslaw Lukasz Malinowski, Director of Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART) and Sr. Maggi Keneddy, Cardinal Lavigerie’s Anti-Slavery Campaign.



The thought-provoking documentary and the exhibition elicited much interest and appreciation from the public and highlighted the importance of ensuring universal awareness of the tragedy of the slave trade and slavery not only for the past but also for the present and the future.

‘LEST WE FORGET: The triumph over slavery’
Alliance Française Ground floor gallery, Utalii Lane, Nairobi
8-31 May 2013