Filmmaker discusses movie, connections to culture

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“Kingdom of the Sky” director compares U.S. southern border issues to apartheid.

By Sarah Morgan

Sejake Matsela, art director of the film “The Forgotten Kingdom” discussed freedom and borders at a screening of the movie April 25 in the nursing and allied health complex.

The event was a part of the 2019 Multicultural Conference produced by the English program.

About 40 people attended the screening.

“The Forgotten Kingdom” was produced in 2011 and was written and directed by Andrew Mudge.

The film released in the U.S. in 2013 won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 2014.

The movie is about a young man, Atang, going back to his home country of Lesotho from urban South Africa to bury his estranged father. Atang then goes on a journey of self-discovery throughout the enclaved “Kingdom of the Sky.”

The purpose of the film is to promote cultural exchange, Matsela said.

Matsela made connections between issues at the U.S. southern border and borders built between cultures.

Growing up during apartheid in South Africa, then immigrating to Lesotho, Matsela said he felt he was displaced.

Apartheid was a period of institutionalized segregation from 1948 to the 1990s implemented by the white minority.

The conflict at the U.S. southern border is reminiscent of apartheid, Matsela said.

There is a phrase in Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, that says, “You are a human being because you recognize the person next to you as one,” Matsela said.

If a people change the way they perceive freedom, they’ll be able to acknowledge the freedom of their neighbor, Matsela said.

The oppressor of peoples, like the South African government during apartheid, relies on the people’s belief in their oppression, Matsela said.

“Freedom is not something given; it is something you own up to,” he said.


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