Fifty years of Fespaco and not a single female recipient of the Golden Stallion of Yennenga: the african professional women of the audiovisual sector are speaking out against this “discrimination”. Last year, the director Alain Gomis won the award for his film Bliss. And about 20 feature films in competition this year, only four films were made by women in this 26th edition of the pan-african festival of cinema in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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“there is discrimination in the cinema, on television, as in other areas of life elsewhere,” plague Alimata Salembere, a pioneer of the television of burkina faso, who was the president of the organising committee of the first Fespaco in 1969. “There is no explanation, except that there are people who allow them to discriminate against women, because they think that their role is to stay home,” judge said she, at the time when the controversy swells at this Fespaco’s fiftieth anniversary.

“when I arrived I saw the avenue in which are erected the statues of the winners : men ! For the past 50 years, there is not a single woman who can tell a good enough story to win ?”

Xolile Tshabalala, actress and director

“Where are the women? wondered the actress and director, south african Xolile Tshabalala – who plays in The Weapons miraculous of Jean-Pierre Bekolo, in-competition -during a debate Wednesday on the issue. “This is my first Fespaco. Then arriving in Ouagadougou, I walked around in the city, and I saw the avenue in which are erected the statues of the winners of the Fespaco: that men! For the past 50 years, there is not a single woman who can tell a good enough story to win the Fespaco?”, she launched.

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“of course, that there is a problem, there is no parity for the craft of the filmmaker, not only in Africa but in the world”, considers the director Apolline Traoré, the hope of his country for this 26th edition of the Fespaco with his film Desrances in the competition. “Director, this is a technical skill, a profession, a field, a trade hard: we don’t yet confidence on our ability to exercise this profession”, she says.

“Africa is lack of training structures”

“there are obstacles for women in the film,” confirms the actor and film director from burkina faso Isaka Sawadogo, who played in the series Guyane . “It is a long and difficult task to make a film. To engage in this business, it is necessary to be a locomotive, whether to impose! Traditional education does not predispose women to this type of role, but rather to run the household and raise the children. Because of this there is not a lot of women who are interested in this job. It is the same in the technical professions of the cinema, there are few women. Africa lack of training facilities”, he laments.

“It is bad to be a model or actress, because we wear fashionable clothes, instead of being covered from head to toe. My grandmother spoke of these trades to the sexual depravity…”

Mouniratou Gouem, actress

women are also victims of bias related to religion. Mouniratou Gouem, an actress and fashion model 22 years of age, who plays in a tv series from burkina faso, said that he had to fight to convince her family to let her engage in this business. “My family is muslim very religious. It is frowned upon to be a model or actress, because we wear fashionable clothes, instead of being covered from head to toe. My grandmother spoke of these trades to the sexual depravity… I have been able to impose my choice in a winner my life, becoming independent. A boy would not have had these difficulties,” observes the actress.

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However, all agree that things are moving, everywhere in Africa. “In Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and even Morocco, there are women who are emerging and who are doing good work”, note Isaka Sawadogo. “Education, training are important, they allow us to make progress towards the equity more,” says Alimata Salembere. “Little by little, the world will see that we are as capable as men,” says Apolline Traoré. But she refuses any net that the Fespaco awards a prize “politically correct”. “It is necessary to give the Stallion of Yennenga at a movie because he deserves it, not just because it is directed by a woman”.

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