Director Dieudo Hamadi, a rising star among African nonfiction filmmakers, focuses on a remarkable and unflappable woman, Colonel Honorine Munyole, head of a special national police unit charged with the protection of women and children in The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mama Colonel has just started a new assignment in Kisangani, the DRC’s third largest city and heart of the diamond trade. She introduces herself to her new constituency at the bustling city market, tightly buttoned in her official police uniform, black beret tipped on her creatively coiffed head, and wielding a black handbag instead of a weapon. It was amid the chaos of the DRC’s long civil war that rape as a weapon of war first came to international attention and Colonel Honorine implores the women who have been abused to come to her for help.
Within a day, several women appear at Mama Colonel’s office, reporting multiple rapes as well as witnessing the murders of their husbands and children. Finding them shelter in an abandoned police barracks, Honorine returns to the marketplace to plead for assistance for these victims. The crowd complains they are also victims of the war with their own needs, and a delegation of maimed survivors claim the widows are lying and they are the only government-recognized victims deserving assistance. Yet another group of victims falls under Mama Colonel’s care when she raids a house where abandoned children are being beaten and starved by a prophetess claiming they are witches.
Everyone is a survivor in Mama’s Colonel’s eyes, leading the resourceful policewoman to find a ray of hope— and a remarkably uplifting solution.
Ugochi Daniels, Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch of UNFPA, will be present for the Festival.
Tickets on sale February 1 at Chapter One Bookstore