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African Apocalypse: A film symposium and lecture series

Film Screening
Tuesday 13 June 2023, 9:00-17:30 BST

Please join us on Tuesday 13th June for the following symposium and lecture series:

About the Event:
African Apocalypse: a film symposium on racial violence, colonial accountability, literature and oral history. This is an all-day event including a screening of the BBC/BFI feature documentary African Apocalypse (Rob Lemkin, 2020) with a series of talks by and discussions with director Rob Lemkin on the film’s diverse themes and developments. Also features exclusive new clips and unused material.

About the Speaker:
Rob Lemkin is an Emmy/Sundance award-winning documentary film director. He directed and co-wrote African Apocalypse. His many previous films include Enemies of the People, a ground-breaking documentary about the killing fields of Cambodia that was used extensively by both prosecution and defence at the UN-backed trial of the Khmer Rouge.

African Apocalypse (UK 2020, 92 minutes, English/Hausa/French

You can register here: 

About the Film:
African Apocalypse is a people’s history of the colonial conquest of Niger in West Africa. It has been called “an extraordinary road movie” (Radio Times) combining investigation, history and reportage with a commitment to exploring the modern meaning of a literary classic (Conrad’s Heart of Darkness). The Hausa language version premiered in Nigeria and Niger in 2022 to large audiences and has played to great events in Bristol University and UCL London.

The film formed the basis of a ground-breaking submission to the United Nations Human Rights Office which was the focus of a New School / United Nations event in October 2021

Symposium Schedule:


1. African Apocalypse. Film screening
2. The Prestige of Terror. A discussion of how the film was based on several years on-the-ground oral history research in Niger and in French colonial archives in Aix-en-Provence. Following widely seen television broadcasts in Niger and Nigeria of the film in Hausa, a discussion of how the film connects with the complex politics of security in the Sahel today.


3. Colonial Amnesia and Transitional Justice. A discussion of how the communities in the film have begun to demand a series of reparations for the colonial invasion of Niger including making submissions to the United Nations Special Rapporteur inquiry into the legacy of colonial crimes. What are the prospects of success?


4. 1899: A Tale of Three Texts. The film African Apocalypse juxtaposes two sets of texts, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Captain Voulet’s handwritten letters and reports on his murderous invasion. There is another text from that year on colonial invasion. It is written by a Hausa poet from Kano, Nigeria called Elhadji Al-Umaru. Umaru’s poems are searing – but also complex – indictments of European violence. A provocative comparative analysis.