John Caulker on public radio

In an interview on public radio’s The Story, Fambul Tok ED John Caulker speaks about his experiences as a human rights activist during the war in Sierra Leone, and what he’s learning about communities’ amazing capacity to lead their own reconciliation process. You can listen here!

Fambul Tok Wins SIGNIS Award at Zanzibar International Film Festival

The SIGNIS Jury at the 14th Annual Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania has recognized Fambul Tok with the prestigious SIGNIS Award. On June 25, 2011, the jury announced their decision at the festival Awards Ceremony, praising Fambul Tok‘s narrative, editing and symbolism.

Photo: Peter Bennett. Copyright Zanzibar International Film Festival. All rights reserved

“This film foregrounds Africa’s contribution to justice and conflict resolution mechanisms that can be appropriated by institutions of justice, ” the jury explained. “The editing of this film prioritizes human emotions that the camera captures with depth. The symbol of fire, throughout the narrative is reminiscent of the call to African traditional value of community.”

For the SIGNIS Jury to appreciate and celebrate not only the film’s powerful message but its innovative storytelling is particularly meaningful to director and producer Sara Terry, who set out to make a film that, as she describes in her Director’s Statement, “spills out more gently, more subtly— tracking the story of a culture that is being reborn before our eyes, and of a people who themselves are being renewed as they revive their ancient practice of fambul tok, of resolving conflict through conversation.”

The members of the SIGNIS Jury were Dominic Dipio (Uganda, President), Fabrizio Colombo (Italy), Veneranda magele (Tanzania) and Paul Samasumo (Zambia). SIGNIS, an NGO working with media professionals in all disciplines all over the world, seeks to transform culture “by promoting Human Dignity, Justice and Reconciliation.” Fambul Tok International, and the Fambul Tok film and book, have similar goals. Awards like SIGNIS show we are on the right path to achieving them.

80 year-old recalls atrocities

An eighty year-old man, D.Samura of Sulima chiefdom, Koinadugu district has confessed and apologised to all those he wronged during the war.

Pa Samura was asked for mercy during the Fambul Tok reconciliation ceremony in Kankaya on May 19, 2011.  According to the old man he was captured by the then Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Tenitalia and ordered to burn down the entire village.

He said he was also taken to Galawuya where he lit set several houses on fire. One of the houses, he said, belonged to Madam Dankay Samura, adding that after that incident three children were reported burnt to death.

Testifier shows remorse for his actions

He said even though nobody knew about the incident he was still worried for what he did during the war. The old man confessed that he had been living in constant fear, adding that he had no opportunity to ask for forgiveness until Fambul Tok created the space.

One of the victims, Madam Dankay Samura, said she has forgiven the old man because he has shown remorse. She stressed that even if she refuses to forgive that would not bring back the lives of her three children.

In a remorseful mood, Pa Samura knelt down and asked for mercy. The Fambul Tok reconciliation committee intervened and the community once again embraced the old man.