Much attention at the 58th Berlin Festival has been on 'War Child', a documentary by first-time director Christian Karim Chrobog. It relates the stunning story of singer Emmanuel Jal who, in the space of a decade, made a remarkable transition from child soldier in Sudan to international hip-hop musician.
Jal, now 28, was seven when his mother was killed. Soldiers raped his sister, and he was hauled off for military training by Sudanese Liberation Army forces in the late 1980s, and given an AK47 taller than himself.
Trapped in the midst of a civil war, he survived front-line action before escaping after five "lost" years with 300 other boys. They endured a three-month trek before reaching safety.
Today, Jal is famous throughout Africa as a rapper, and for his work with the UN, Amnesty International and Oxfam in campaigning against employment of child soldiers and the illegal trade of arms. His first song Gua, which means "power" in Arabic, streaked to the top of the charts in Kenya. <IPS>
Here's the War Child Trailer:
Jal is fantastically talented. If you're a fan of hip-hop or African music, definitely listen to some of his tracks, try on his YouTube channel (I love this). A couple of songs are also streaming at Warchildmovie.com. Warning: the music starts automatically (and loudly).