Literature and Film
Sauti (Voice) (www.sautifilm.org) follows the efforts of five young women who were brought to a refugee settlement in Uganda as children and who, as they approach adulthood, strive to pursue their dreams for a future beyond the constraints of a protracted refugee situation in an underdeveloped host country. Over the course of four and a half years and seven extended field productions in Uganda, Gayle and her crew established deep bonds with the women and their families. In the process, the young women’s stories unfolded organically and intimately and they became storytellers in their own right through drawings, poems, and video self-documentation, revealing the trauma of their pasts, their dreams of transcending the fates of their parents, and what it takes to be in charge of their own futures. This is a film by Gayle Nosal, who is the founder and director of NeeNee Productions, a documentary film company. Gayle holds an MFA in Writing and before entering filmmaking in 2012, worked in advertising, sales, and teaching. Sauti (Voice) will be featured at the Boulder International Film Festival.
City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence (Summary from Google Books): To charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it’s a “nursery for terrorists”; to the western media, it’s a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort.
Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, in the midst of the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of the individuals who have sought sanctuary in the camp. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for soccer; Nisho, who scrapes together an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.
With deep compassion and rare eloquence, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with profound international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.