Kenyan Filmmaker Grandparent’s tales inspired documentary about the Maragoli community
Nairobi, Kenya; Filmmaker Cynthia Abdallah is set to unveil her one of a kind documentary titled Inyumba yu Mulogooli.
Ms Abdallah says the “aim of the documentary is to educate and to preserve stories from the Maragoli community. To create dialogue about the origins of our communities and how we ended up where we are.”
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She added, “The project was inspired by the incessant tales from my grandfather. His knowledge of Muraguri (Mulogooli) and his insistence that this story be told so that the future Maragoli generation can understand how they came to be, and who they really are.
Their journey, their customs, their traditions. His belief in the timelessness of the story and his cultural efforts within the cultural society in Vihiga county.”
So raw and real is the documentary that it is told in the local language, Kilogooli (Lulogooli), it brings together the Maragoli community and sparks debate about Mzee Lubang’a s account.
Ms Abdallah notes, “We have watched numerous other documentaries on other tribes in Kenya. But we are yet to see one that explores this particular community.”
She continued, “Preserving our indigenous languages is key and this documentary does exactly that. It is also the first of its kind to speak about who we are as people, where we come from and where we are headed.
Other documentaries tend to generalise the luhya community. The second largest tribe in Kenya. This one singles out the second largest luhya sub tribe and delves deeper into its culture.”
To watch the documentary, you will need to pay Ksh 100 to access it on video streaming site Sharaha Videos.
“The documentary will be 40 minutes long. A lot of work has gone into the project and these funds will go towards documenting even more local communities. Tell more stories and appreciate the tales that the old generation keeps so well preserved,” she said.
Ms Abdalla said she opted to partner with Shahara in the distribution of the video because, “Shahara is setting the pace for digital content in Kenya. It is accessible and has made it easy for local content producers to get their products out into the market. The transparency and accessibility of the people in charge are quite appealing and it makes it easy for content creators to speak directly and openly about the vision for our content. Not to forget the fact that content creators can finally get paid for their hard work.”
The making of the documentary came with its own challenges.
Ms Abdallah explained, “Translating kilogooli (Lulogooli) into English has been the most challenging part. We have spent almost three months ensuring that this is done to a good standard as we would like to create credible translations for the rest of the listening tribes in Kenya. Our viewers should be able to understand the story with the meaningful translations that will be provided and simple voiceovers.”
Adding, “Another challenge would be the travel and weather conditions. It took the crew a few hours to access the burial site of Mulogooli. It was also quite rainy during this period but the crew managed to overcome this.”
Despite the challenges, Ms Abdallah pointed out that the greatest highlight of producing the documentary was “the journey to the villages. The interactions with the elders and the immersion into the Maragoli way of doing things.”
She continued, “Many members of my crew are not Luhya. So traversing the plains into unknown territory was not only exciting but also eye-opening.”
Cynthia Abdallah is a Kenyan author of the poetry chapbooks, My Six Little Fears and The Author’s Feet and the short stories collection titled The Musunzu tree and other stories. Her work has appeared in numerous online magazines and print in Kenya and abroad.