02 Feb Watch the Trailer for ‘Black President’, the Debut Film of BLK JKS’ Mpumelelo Mcata
Mpumelelo Mcata, the guitarist for alternative rock band BLK JKS, is making his directorial debut at the annual Berlinale film festival with Black President. The 86-minute feature centres on the notion of ‘black guilt’, following the plight of young Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai.
Black President questions the responsibility of African artists in the context of a globalised universe, where we find ourselves ‘playing catch up’ to the West instead of following our own paths. The film investigates the extent to which our relationship with the ghost of our continent’s collective history of opression, exploitation and struggle really haunts us, and it urges us to question whether we’re victims of our past – forever beholden to our so called ‘arrested development’ – or whether our burden is actually our greatest strength.
In a conversation with Okayafrica Mpumelelo explains his foray into filmmaking, “I’ve always associated making music with images, moving images, stories and light of all sorts, so in a sense I’ve been interested in, and making film for a while — music videos are after all how I arrived at my deep love for sound, so this is the next logical step.” Read an excerpt from the film’s synopis below.
“In Black President, The White Queen (a character from one of Kudzi’s pieces) personifies the idea of an externalised and internalised Quasi Colonialism when she first appears in a work by Kudzanai Chiurai and then steps out of that frame and into the world of the film.
She soon goes rogue and irritates everyone around her while trying to buy up every African person and object she sees.
How will this end?
When will we Africans stop shooting ourselves in the foot to prove a point about our own agency in relation to the so called Western standard?
Will we the Africans ever rid ourselves of this load?
When will we lynch these ideas?”
Black President is premiering at the 65th annual Berlinale film festival on 7 February.