Heart of Africa Summary
A Congolese man runs from a terrible accident and finds himself at a revolutionary camp, where he is told that he has a great destiny. He tries to escape and start a new life by going to another town, joining a new religion, and becoming a missionary. Ultimately, though, he finds himself back in the very place he had tried to leave. He must face his fears and his shame—but also his magnificent possibilities.
Heart of Africa is the first full-length, faith-based film to come out of the nascent Democratic Republic of Congo film movement. After decades of colonial oppression and civil war, the country’s scars run deep. Cinema is emerging as a cathartic new medium. Director Tshoper Kabambi is a leader of a new kind of revolution: one driven by stories that he hopes will heal the hearts of his people and the DR Congo.
Heart of Africa Review
Heart of Africa is an intense movie. Because of the movie maker’s desire to remain completely authentic, much of the dialogue is in Lingala (a primary language of the Congo) with English subtitles. Some of the dialogue is also in English. This means you need to pay attention as you watch, unless you are fortunate enough to speak Lingala. Not only do the subtitles compel your attention, but so does this story. Filmed on location in the Democratic Republic of Congo gives the story and the surroundings an additional layer of authenticity.
This is a movie to give your full attention to, and not watch as “background” when you are doing other things. I have been known to do this, but as soon as this movie started, I set aside everything else so I could focus on the story and on what was happening. It’s not a typical faith-based movie, which made it even more interesting to me. I felt like I was watching someone deal with real life-changing struggles and issues that made me consider sacrifice and the strength of my own faith. I came away feeling uplifted and that it had been an evening well spent.
Heart of Africa Background
Heart of Africa is the first ever Congolese-American production of a feature film. It was written by Tshoper Kabambi, a Congolese film maker, and Margaret Blair Young. The film was produced by Bruce Young, Margaret Blair Young, Tshoper Kabambi, Ephraim Faith Byikana, and Deborah Basa.
The DVD & Blu-ray will be available at all Deseret Book locations, online and at additional retailers throughout the United States. Heart of Africa had its theatrical debut earlier this year. Unfortunately its run in theaters was cut short due to COVID-19-related theater closures.
Heart of Africa tells the incredible story of Gabriel Ngandu, a young Congolese revolutionary trying to escape the terrible mistakes of his past. His journey leads him to completely new experiences and even a new religion – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – but leaves him torn between the influences of two completely different father figures – Mwabila; his revolutionary leader, and President Kabasubabu; his new religious leader. Called as a missionary by his new church, Ngandu is sent back to his home village to help build an orphanage with his mission companion from Idaho, Jason Martin, who also has a tragic, secret past.
“Heart of Africa is an important film from a Black filmmaker who has dedicated almost everything to create and present it,” said Arthur VanWagenen, product director for Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book. “Kabambi’s devotion to share this story can’t be overstated. In a true example of life imitating art, the film’s message of overcoming adversity by placing our lives in the Lord’s hands is now happening in real life for Tshoper. He came to the United States for the film’s release. But because of the pandemic, Tshoper has been unable to return to his family in the Congo.”
Proceeds from the film will generate funds for humanitarian work and aid in the Congo. They will primarily go to health and innovative education to assist the people of the Congo in becoming more self-reliant. In addition, proceeds will be used to help revitalize the film and cinema industry in the Congo.
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