2018. France. 96 min. Swahili, French. Subtitled.
Director: Emmanuel Gras. Featuring: Kabwita Kasongo, Lydie Kasongo.
In his third feature documentary, Emmanuel Gras captures the somber perseverance of Congolese father and makala-maker, Kabwita Kasongo. Makala—meaning charcoal—is the economic lifeblood for his growing family. Gras follows 28-year-old Kabwita in his daily routine of making and selling charcoal and the grueling physical work behind it. In order to support his wife and daughters, Kabwita must chop and burn lumber in the brutal heat only to carry the bundles into town to sell to local vendors. The Kasongo’s exhausting lifestyle provides a subtle social commentary on the lingering effects of Western colonization on the Congo.
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center