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Coleman Memorial Lecture: "Art on the FrontLine: Cultural Activism in East Congo"

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko and Petna Ndaliko

The UCLA African Studies Center's annual Coleman Memorial Lecture is happy to announce this year's lecturers, Chérie Rivers Ndaliko and Petna Ndaliko. The lecture is co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance and the Mellon Postdoctoral Program in the Humanities "Cultures in Transnational Perspective."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
4:30 PM
200 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095


The Democratic Republic of the Congo is simultaneously one of the most fraught and most culturally vibrant nations on earth. While there is growing global focus on the war in the east of the country, there is less attention given to the increasingly powerful resistance movements that are fomenting socio-political change through art and culture. Yole!Africa, founded in 2000 by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and activist Petna Ndaliko, is a cultural center that is the catalyst of a large youth-led nonviolent resistance movement in the east of Congo. In addition to training thousands of youth in film and music production, dance, visual arts, and journalism, Yole!Africa also founded the first international film festival in Congo as part of its strategy to create global partnerships and advance a sustainable model of social and political transformation. This talk explores historic and aesthetic elements of cultural activism through analysis of Yole!Africa’s new online series Art on the FrontLine and through a public discussion with the center’s founder.

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies radical arts interventions in conflict regions of Africa—specifically the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—through film studies, ethnomusicology, and cultural theory. Her work centers on film and music as catalysts of movements of socio-political transformation as well as on the ethics and aesthetics of humanitarian aid. She devotes particular attention to youth and gender politics. Her forthcoming book, Charitable Imperialism and Necessary Noise: Art, War, and Humanitarianism in the East of Congo, offers a new paradigm for considering cultural radicalism and resistance in the face of humanitarian crises.

Beyond her academic engagement with issues of audio-visual representation, power, and resistance, she also advocates socially engaged scholarship. In addition to her teaching and research, she serves as co-director of the Yole!Africa cultural center in Goma, executive director of the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival, and faculty advisor for Yole!Africa U.S. Ndaliko holds a B.M. in film scoring from the Berklee College of Music, an A.M. from Harvard University in Ethnomusicology, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in African Studies.

Petna Ndaliko is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker and activist and the founder of Yole!Africa and Alkebu Film Productions. His cinematic style combines rhythm, image, and social critique with digital innovation to challenge traditional narrative structures. His films skirt the boundary of fiction and reality and provoke reflection on post-colonial African realities. As a filmmaker he is the recipient of many international prizes. He also consults frequently for international media outlets as a specialist on the question of image and representation in the Great Lakes Region.

As an activist, Petna Ndaliko has been the featured speaker for the UN Habitat series on the implication of urban youth and art in increasing security in the Great Lakes Region of Eastern Africa; the UN Habitat World Urban Forum on youth crime prevention; the EU Colloquium on Culture and Creativity in Development. He has also been featured on national and international news media including The New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBS Uganda, Radio Okapi, Digital Congo Television, and the Royal Flemish Theatre.


Free and open to the public

Senegalese food will be provided


About James Smoot Coleman:

The Coleman Memorial Lecture is given in honor and memory of Professor James S. Coleman, the founder of the UCLA African Studies Center. A pioneer in the field of African Studies, Coleman’s capacity for work was extraordinary, and he was among the first American scholars to recognize, understand, and give voice to the significance of the African perspective. His scholarly contributions were immense and focused largely on nationalism, education, and development theory, but he also wrote on academic freedom and political economy; his works have endured. Intelligent, warm, and inventive are often words used to describe Coleman.

In 1989, the Center was renamed to honor its founder James S. Coleman, whose pioneering scholarship marks him as one of the architects of African Studies in the United States.

Cost : Free and open to the public. Pay-by-space & all-day ($12) parking available in Lot 3.

UCLA African Studies Center310-825-3686
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Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, World Arts & Cultures/Dance, Mellon Postdoctoral Program in the Humanities “Cultures in Transnational Perspective"