April 20, 2018

East Africa Mourns Film Festival Founder

By Iminza Keboge
Published September 7, 2017

Benjamin Akpor Otebele, EAFN's United States of America -based Technical Advisor, dies in Tacoma, Washington state, on August 31, 2017.East African Film Network (EAFN) has issued a statement following the death of Akpor Benjamin Otebele, its United States of America -based Technical Advisor, in Tacoma, Washington state, on August 31, 2017.

The full statement, signed by Vice-Chair Martin Mhando but signed by Chair Leonce Ngabo, follows here below:

We have received the news of the passing of our brother Akpor Otebele, Festival Director of the Arusha African Film Festival with sadness and shock.

Akpor will be remembered with fondness in every heart of an East African filmmaker as that committed brother, who with a smile and a chuckle, made us aware of what was great about this part of the continent- a sense of togetherness that is not easy to find elsewhere.

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He showed us that being East African must be cherished; he etched it in our minds that our struggle is similar and therefore one; he cautioned us against that myopic thinking that never saw Africa as the world that it is but only a geographical entity baptised by some. For making us constantly aware that Africa is united by more than geography and that the pride of being African must always shine in every eye, must sing in every throat, must shake every limb and bring happiness – always, always.

Akpor Otebele (2nd from right) with Lola Kenya Screen's director Ogova Ondego and GIZ's Elizabeth Wanyoike at the closing/graduation ceremony of East African Community children in basic cinematography in 2014.It is Akpor who brought all of us together in Arusha in 2014, and moved us to all other parts of the world by making AAFF a global touring festival, that we shall always walk with as we journey towards where he has gone ahead of us.

Lala Pema Ndugu yetu Akpor Otebele.

Leone Ngabo.
Chairman, East African Film Network

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