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Dr. Tukufu Zuberi

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Revolution Through Communication

Posted: 02/08/2013 4:14 pm

I like to think of myself as a revolutionary, because the day of violent revolution is gone. Violence is now used almost exclusively at the cost of everyday people's lives, and nothing revolutionary can come out of the intentional death of innocents. I recognized long ago that the time of communicative revolution is upon us.

I say this as I reflect on the premiere of my first documentary film, African Independence. It has been over one week since African Independence premiered at the San Diego Black Film Festival and won Best Documentary and Best Director. For some people, this is the first time they have heard about this festival, now in its 11th year. I didn't know about this festival until I looked for places to screen my documentary and have it reviewed by other filmmakers. For even more people, this will be the first time they have heard about African Independence. From that vantage point, the San Diego Black Film Festival became the first space in which my production of documentaries -- my latest and perhaps greatest attempt at communicative revolution -- was introduced to the world.

Communicating and broadcasting are fundamental to human society and social change today. If you put those two words together, you get a weird word-"communicasting." This word will probably never become popular because it is too long and has too many syllables, but, in my mind, "communicasting" is a kind of revolution with sound and image. It is more than communicating ideas because it allows people to take part in the process of defining the conversation. This is why I have two Facebook pages, a Twitter, a Wordpress page, and a webpage -- all of these things so that I can fulfill my mission as an intellectual.

That said, it is probably obvious why the premiere of my first documentary at the first film festival of my life was such a big deal. It was the coming together of my experiences as a scholar and my participation on The History Detectives. When the San Diego Black Film Festival announced that I had been awarded Best Director, I didn't know what to think at first, so when they also announced that we had received the award for Best Documentary, you would have thought I was at the Oscars!

 

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