Africa Reels: How I extended my trip in the comfort of my home

Me with Smiling Malian Children

It was obvious I would take my video camera with me to Africa; I just didn’t know what I’d do with the footage. It was just documentation, as far as I was concerned when I was shooting. Had I intended to do any serious editing later, I probably wouldn’t have been as stingy with my shots- I had brought with me 64 gigabytes worth of memory cards, and no computer on to which to unload the files, so I kept all my shots short and to the point. Luckily, I traveled with a tremendously talented photographer, Yosee Gamzuletova, and his photos supplemented my sparse footage.

I was so moved by my entire experience in Africa, the beauty and wisdom I saw in Africa, that I had to convey it for others. Throughout the next 10 months or so I went through my footage and Yosee’s photos, categorising them according to the projected subjects of each of the films. As I was missing aspects of Africa, digesting the intensity of the connections I made with people in the brief time I knew them, and not sure whether my impressions from Africa were 100% real, the editing process was a fabulous way to avoid some of the culture shock of returning home. It was also my sincerest way of saying “Thank you” to the people in Africa who made my trip what it was. Many of my contacts there would persist in seeing me as a privileged tourist from whom they could financially benefit, even as they may have genuinely valued me as a person, but I hoped the videos I dedicated to their homeland would offer them a greater satisfaction than they could get from my money.

Making these Africa reels was my way of bringing Africa home.


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