African Cinemas: The Pioneering Years, 1955-1981, Early Decolonization. A “Milestones” Timeline…

Zooming out, and looking at the heart of Akoroko’s exploration of African cinemas, past, present, and future, we see it’s situated within the broader theme of decolonization. It’s a narrative that has been unfolding over the last seven decades.

In that context, creating an African film history timeline (including independence dates) isn’t just an academic exercise; it has practical implications that directly serve the decolonization theme.

It especially helps demystify African cinemas for those unfamiliar with the histories and highlights the continent’s contributions which have, thus far, been relatively shelved.

Note: No single timeline can ever be truly definitive. This is just one attempt, and I’m opening it up to your feedback.

It’s Part 1, ending just before the first International Conference on African Cinema in Niamey, Niger, in 1982, where the Niamey Manifesto of African Filmmakers was born.

I’ll get to Part 2 later.

My sources are varied. But I give much credit to “Dictionary of African Filmmakers” by Roy Armes (published in 2008 but never updated), and “African Cinema: Manifesto and Practice for Cultural Decolonization” (published in 2023, but with what I’d argue is a clear Francophone bias).

Also, Manthia Diawara’s seminal “African Cinema. Politics and Culture” (published 1992).

To name a few…

The goal is to create a comprehensive and balanced timeline, a kind of living document I will eventually publish somewhere so that it’s continuously updated as new *discoveries* are made and properly contextualized.

I believe there’s more that we still do not know, and more to reinterpret, especially considering the diverse and rich histories of the continent’s many countries and cultures.

Again, feel free to chime in! Or send a message.