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Carleton presents Area Premiere of “Remembering Nokutela,” Latest Film by Professor Chérif Keita

January 22, 2014

Carleton College will present the area’s premiere screening of “Remembering Nokutela,” the latest documentary film by Professor of French and Francophone Studies Chérif Keita, on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Cinema. The film, screened as part of the College’s International Film Forum, and co-sponsored by the Carleton Humanities Center, chronicles Keita’s four-year-long journey to uncover the story of Nokutela Dube (1873-1917), the long-forgotten woman pioneer of the liberation movement in South Africa. A question and answer session with Keita will follow the screening. The film is suitable for all audiences and the screening is free and open to the public. 

Keita stresses the significance of this particular film: “All too often, the (hi)story of women is reduced to a footnote in the epic of brave men. In Africa, that footnote simply disappears when a woman has not been able to conceive or bear a child.” The story “rescues Nokutela from the purgatory of history, almost a century after her death at the age of 44.” 

“Remembering Nokutela” (uKukhumbula uNokutela in Zulu) is the latest chapter in Keita’s series on early South African liberation. Woven into this deeply emotional and eerily serendipitous journey are the little-known connections between the director’s hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, and the birth of an important pro-democracy and social justice movement, the African National Congress, in Inanda (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), in the early 20th century. 

Keita, a native of Mali, previously directed "Oberlin-Inanda: The Life and Times of John L. Dube" (2005), which looks at the life of John L. Dube, founding president of the African National Congress (then called the South African Native National Congress) and an early figure in the struggle against white rule in South Africa; and “Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa” (2010), a sequel of sorts to “Oberlin-Inanda,” as Keita charts the connection between Dube and William and Ida Belle Wilcox, an American missionary couple who lived in South Africa in the 1910s. 

“Remembering Nokutela” (2013) is in English and Zulu and runs 57 minutes. The film is directed by Chérif Keita and edited by Dominic Fucci. 

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Humanities Center. For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact Humanities Center Director Susannah Ottaway at (507) 222-5483. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at 320 Third Street East in Northfield.