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Morenike Olabunmi speaking

Ousmane Sembene, Morenike Olabunmi and Alicia Thompson at the Apollo in 2001


About the Speaker

Communication is my passion.

Discussing topics that stimulate the exchange of ideas and new information is one of my passions. As a researcher and documentary filmmaker, unearthing human stories that affect and connect with the global community, and presenting them to audiences using different formats is stimulating. I like to hear news and share news. — MORENIKE OLABUNMI


$300.00 plus transportation and lodging. Filmmaker will speak at schools, colleges, universities and organizations. (Price varies with client.)

List of Speech Topics

  1. The Significance of Marcus Mosiah Garvey's Philosophy Decades after His Death
  2. The Preservation of African Traditional Expression in Jamaican Grass Roots Culture
  3. The Role of Women in Ousmane Sembene's films
  4. The Importance of Rites of Passage for Children of African Descent
  5. Etu & Nago: The Yoruba Connection or Her Spirit Was for Dancing

The Significance of Marcus Mosiah Garvey's Philosophy Decades After His Death

The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's first national hero, was born August 17, 1887 into a society where darker-skinned Jamaicans were discriminated against. He launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association with its motto, "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" in 1914.

The association's program included: economic independence, education, race pride and the unification of African peoples world-wide working towards the political independence of Africa. His cry, "Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad." As we look at Garvey's philosophy in today's world we ask, "Is Garvey's philosophy relevant at this time of economic and social upheaval and the recolonization of Africa?"


The Preservation of African Traditional Expression in Jamaican Grass Roots Culture

Jamaica, West Indies, is an island whose population is 95% of African descent. The first Africans were brought to the island in 1513 by the Spaniards and Portuguese, who were later joined by the British. These Africans were brought mainly from the Congo and West Africa.

The descendants of these Africans have managed to preserve the ways of their ancestors in rituals, language, dance, folk medicines, and food preparations. Elders are respected and ancestors revered. Dukunnu (dokunnu in the Twi language of Ghana) is a staple in many districts in Jamaica. It's made with a mixture of cornmeal, raisins, sugar, spices and coconut milk, which is then wrapped in a green banana leaf and boiled. Numerous transplanted African practices can still be found amongst the rural people of Jamaica.


The Role of Women in Ousmane Sembene's Films

"Africa's society and economy are held together today by women. But how can women have these responsibilities and yet be denied the same privileges as men," stated Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembene. Sembene, the father of African cinema, explored a myriad of topics in his movies, such as: government impotence, colonial confrontation, and women's concerns within the social realistic film genre.

In these films the disenfranchised, which include women, are given a voice. Sembene's female protagonists are defiant in the face of tradition when community and women's rights are ignored. For example in his last film Moolaade, Collé Ardo, a circumcised woman, defies her village's age-old tradition of female circumcision by giving sanctuary to four girls who refuse this brutal practice. Collé's personal experience with the negative effects of female circumcision is the driving force behind her action. Ousmane Sembene's leading female characters use their power to confront social pressures, colonial powers and patriarchy.


The Importance of Rites of Passage for Children of African Descent

"It takes a village to raise a child and a community to keep the parents sane," is an African proverb that describes the Rites of Passage program. This program is a medium through which the entire community collaborates to nurture their youth mentally, physically and spiritually. This deliberate intergenerational interaction creates strong character and self worth in the young participants. They are infused with values and skills that inspire self-reliance as they grow into productive adults, who will make positive contributions to their communities and to the world. It is imperative that children of African descent are surrounded by supportive, positive role models who neutralize society's negative pressures and negative images of people of color.


Etu & Nago: The Yoruba Connection
Her Spirit Was for Dancing

After screening the documentary, Etu & Nago: The Yoruba Connection or the documentary, Her Spirit Was for Dancing, the topics posed by either film will be elaborated on. How do a people use memory to keep tradition, ritual, language and ancestry while intermingling with other ethnic groups, and at the same time adapting to a new environment?

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