A mini film festival, 'Forced to Flee', to commemorate World Refugee Day will take place in and around Durban on 20 June 2014.
The festival is presented by Refugee Social Services, in partnership with Alliance Française; Durban Holocaust Centre; Arts for Humanity; International Organisation for Migration; Diakonia Centre; Refugee Pastoral Care; Lawyers for Human Rights and Union of Refugee Women with support from Oxfam Australia and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The focus this year will be on creating awareness around the stories of forced migration and refugees. The commemoration will marry film; photography; visual art; music; craft and discussions. To complement the art and films, as part of the opening programme, French-Congolese singer Rene Tshiakanyi will perform some of his original acoustic ballads.
The core event will take place at the Denis Hurley Hall, Diakonia Centre, with supporting events at the Alliance Française; Durban Holocaust Centre; Project Gateway in Pietermaritzburg and Archie's Cafe Diakonia Centre for the public. It will also take place in the waiting rooms of the Home Affairs' Refugee Reception Centre, Che Guevara Road, which is not open to the public.
During the week from 23-27 June, it will be shown at the Refugee Social Services; Lawyers for Human Rights; and Refugee Pastoral Care.
"We plan to use the opportunity of World Refugee Day to highlight the contribution of the refugee community to our society," says Yasmin Rajah, director of Refugee Social Services. "Each event in the mini-festival will be free of charge and open to the public. All are welcome, as we seek to build a stronger sense of compassion, understanding and acceptance among all South Africans for people who have faced great turmoil and hardships in their homelands, forcing them under threat of persecution to seek asylum in our country."
The opening film will be screened at 11am on Friday 20 June at the Diakonia Centre. The film is 'L'Escale' (The Stop Over) Set in Athens, Amir, an Iranian immigrant, has a modest flat, which has become a place of transit for migrants. However, Greece is only a stopover; all of them hope to reach other Western countries. They find themselves stuck at Amir's hoping for ID documents, contacts and the smuggler to whom they might entrust their destiny (2013, in French/Persian with English subtitles). A second screening will take place at 11am on Monday 23 June in Pietermaritzburg at Project Gateway.
On Monday 23 at 6pm at the Alliance Française in Durban, there will be the screening of the movie 'Illegal' - a 2010 Belgian drama directed by Olivier Masset Depasse, which follows the story of Tania and her 13-year-old son Ivan, two illegals living in Belgium. Mother and son are separated and Tania is placed in a detention centre. She will do anything to be reunited with her son (French with English subtitles).
On Tuesday 24 June, at the Holocaust Centre, Playfair Rd on Durban's beachfront, there will be a screening of 'Harbour of Love' at 7pm. This 2011 documentary is billed as a heart-breaking but life-affirming documentary of love, hope and unsolved mysteries. In 1945 Irene, Ewa and Joe were among the 30,000 survivors rescued from German concentration camps and bought to the peaceful harbour town of Malmo in Sweden - where their lives began again. (English and Swedish with English subtitles).
'Man on Ground', to be screened in waiting rooms, tells the story of Ade and Femi, two Nigerian brothers who end up in Johannesburg (In English).
There will be two exhibitions.
Dialogue among Civilisations an initiative by Art for Humanity, which involves collaboration between artists and poets who were invited to create work on the theme of identity, land, object and belief. Elements of the exhibition can be seen at Diakonia; the Durban Holocaust Centre; Durban Refugee Reception Centre and Alliance Française. The second exhibition features 15 poignant photographs of' Living Spaces of Refugees and Migrants' (including South Africans) in a photographic training project supported by Oxfam Australia.
There are approximately 9.8 million refugees in Africa. In 2010, it was estimated that South Africa alone hosted some 270,671 refugees and asylum-seekers that are legally entitled to residence in the Republic of South Africa. The majority are from the Great Lakes regions of Africa, such as DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia.
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