Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road – a film about religion, migration and social identities

Click here to read this article in English.

By Emna Gelacia, Middle East and North Africa Programs Assistant at Minority Rights Group

The stories of migrants in transit countries, though overlooked in the mainstream media, can be extraordinarily rich and complicated, especially for minorities. Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road explores how religion, migration and other social identities can shape the daily lives of some sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia.

The documentary tells the story of an Ivorian woman who is a member of a small makeshift church set up by a group of migrants in Tunis. She tells us about her unexpected trip to Tunisia, her daily life, her struggles and her future aspirations. Through its story, the film shows how a group of Sub-Saharan Evangelical Christians in Tunis uses the space of the Church not only to share spiritual values, but also to show solidarity and support through the community.

Sub-Saharan migrants face racial discrimination, but their situation is compounded by language barriers, problems with identity documents and their limited access to education and health care. They are frequently abused, exploited and even subjected to targeted attacks. La Soukra, a suburb of Tunis, is where many have settled, working in low-paying jobs with little or no protection. Every Sunday they meet in a small warehouse in one of the poorest corners of this region to worship together. The congregation of about 30 people is small, but strong and vibrant.

Basile Yao, character of the short documentary ‘Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road’, answering questions from the public during the round table ‘Minorities and minority groups in Tunisia, between discrimination and recognition of diversity’, Tunis, December 13, 2021 Next to him is Philippa Day, the director of the film.

Despite their precarious situation, some sub-Saharans have nevertheless managed to find ways to practice their faith by establishing their own place of worship in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the capital. The narrative of this film is sometimes light, showing the joy of the Church, the music and the visual richness of Sunday dress. On the other hand, many members of the congregation are forced to live their daily lives with many difficulties. Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road aims to avoid painting a caricature of poverty. Instead, it strives to capture the strength and strength that enabled these people to create a community from nothing, with the Church at its heart.

‘Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road’ is a short documentary produced by Minority Rights Group and directed by Sindbad Production under the NORAD funded ‘Protecting the Rights of Religious Minorities’ programme.

Photo: Excerpt from the documentary film Crossing Africa: Faith on the Road by Sinbad Production.

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