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The African Studies Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host Africa Week from Nov. 14 -18, 2019. Spread across two weeks, programming will include an art exhibition, film screenings, musical performances, lectures and a panel discussion. Activities are meant to inform and educate the Carolina community about the world region. All events are free and open to the public.

“Africa Week is an extension of our center’s mission to provide the University and the people of North Carolina with a space for interdisciplinary inquiry and communication on Africa. We are pleased to be able to share this carefully curated series of events with the Carolina community,” said Emily Burrill, director of the African Studies Center and associate professor of women’s and gender studies and history.

Below are only a handful of events that will be featured over the two weeks. The African Studies Center website contains a full list of associated programming.


A viewing and student-led discussion of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” will take place in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Center at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 12.  The film is based on William Kamkwamba’s 2009 memoir. As a boy in Malawi, Kamkwamba read all the books he could find on science and technology in his local library and built a windmill out of spare parts salvaged in the village to bring family electricity and water. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019.

On Nov. 13, viewings of the virtual reality film “267,” a six-minute movie produced and directed by Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Florence and James Peacock Atrium of the FedEx Global Education Center. According to Ndaliko Katondolo, the film addresses the past, current and future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), “where colonial illusions collide with Afrofuturistic demands.” Ndaliko Katondolo will attend the screenings and guide participants throughout the experience. Registration is required for participation.


On display in the FedEx Global Education Center through Dec. 13, The Art of Resistance features the work of Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé who gained notoriety for criticizing the long-ruling, oppressive government of his native Equatorial Guinea. After living in exile from 2011 until 2017, Esono Ebalé was falsely imprisoned upon his return home. To call for his release, artists from around the world began a virtual collective and social media campaign using #FreeNseRamon, inspiring others to contribute their own art in support of Esono Ebalé,culminating in his freedom in March 2018. This exhibition features work created by Esono Ebalé prior to and during his imprisonment, the art of those who participated in the #FreeNseRamon movement, and new original art created for the exhibition by the artist.


The highlight of Africa Week will be a panel discussion on “Africa’s Evolving Forms of Political Critique and Social Movements.” The panel will take place Wednesday, Nov. 13 on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center. The selected panelists will represent perspectives and stories from across the continent. Participants include Tutu Alicante, Equatoguinean born human rights lawyer and executive director of EG Justice; Isma’il Kushkush, a Sudanese American journalist who has covered Sudan and contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, CNN, Aljazeera English, Guernica Magazine and others; and Cherie Ndaliko, assistant professor of music at UNC-Chapel Hill who has extensively researched how film and music act as catalysts of movements and socio-political transformation.


Trifonia Melibea Obono is a writer and activist from Equatorial Guinea who studies and advocates for women’s gender equality in Africa, and she will speak on Equatorial Guinea’s LGBTQ+ and human rights issues on Nov. 14, on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center at 5:30 p.m. An original portrait of Obono is featured in The Art of Resistance exhibition, highlighting her activism regarding issues of gender and sexuality in Africa.

On Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Mikael Chukwuma Owunna will discuss his project “Limit(less)” at the Ackland Art Museum. “Limit(less)” is an award-winning documentary photography project on LGBTQ African immigrants in North America and Europe. Mikael Owunna is a queer Nigerian-Swedish artist, photographer, Fulbright Scholar and engineer born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Please visit the Ackland Art Museums’ website to learn more and to register for the event.

Africa Week is sponsored by the African Studies Center, the College of Arts & Sciences and UNC Global.

Programming Contact: Ada Umenwaliri, associate director of the African Studies Center,

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