The African premiere of ‘Sweet Poison’, an 89-minute documentary on the blessings and curse of foreign development aid took place at Kigali Serena Hotel on Tuesday.
Written and directed by Peter Heller, the film had its first world premiere two weeks ago at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.
The movie’s subtitle ‘Aid as Business’ displays a clear view of foreign aid from various African perspectives. It is estimated that over 800,000 people worldwide survive on aid.
First, the documentary reveals the initial impression Africans get as they receive aid in the form of food, infrastructure and machinery. But as a result, the aid creates a dependency syndrome among the people/countries who end up discarding activities that sustained them before.
The film also highlights the taboos of north to south relations and the African complex with provocative analytic statements, views and opinions from African journalists and experts. It then offers options for African countries to develop towards a self-determined future.
Once aid is then withdrawn, people become vulnerable and are compelled to cope up with the situation.
Heller, who is a veteran filmmaker, has made films for the last 40 years. “For forty years, I have been making films on Africa- our neighbouring continent, searching, observing and analysing its connections and relations,” Peter Heller, of ‘Sweet Poison’ told The New Times.
“I felt that as most African countries have had 50 years of independence, what the progress has been made so far-especially as most of them receive foreign aid?” he posed.
The film’s premiere comes in at a time when Rwanda is currently embroiled in a tussle with powerful Western nations over ‘Foreign Aid’.
“I was very satisfied with the strong reactions people expressed after its screening. I didn’t expect people to welcome and appreciate it that way,” he added.
The filmmaker is expected to begin the promotional tour of his film promotional tour throughout his native Germany in November, alongside Mohammed Gueye, one of the commentators in the film.
By Andrew Israel Kazibwe, The New Times