The Center for Documentary Studies is co-sponsoring the Duke Screen/Society‘s free screening of Indochina: Traces of a Mother, the latest film from one of Africa’s foremost documentary filmmakers, Duke Visiting Assistant Professor Idrissou Mora Kpai. A Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screening.
Tuesday, September 11, 7 p.m.
Griffith Film Theater, Bryan University Center, Duke West Campus
125 Science Dr., Durham, North Carolina
Between 1946 and 1954, over six thousand West African soldiers, the “tirailleurs sénégalais,” were enlisted by the French to fight the Viet Minh in the Indochina War. Pitted against one another by circumstances, these two colonized peoples came into contact, and a number of African soldiers took Vietnamese women as wives. At the end of the war, the colonial army ordered that the mixed-race children born of these unions be repatriated to Africa, to “protect” them from the Viet Minh. While some children left with their mothers and fathers, others were simply taken away by their fathers, leaving their mothers behind. Christophe was among those children abandoned in orphanages who were put up for mass adoption by African officers. By encouraging Christophe to take a journey into his own past, Indochina: Traces of a Mother opens a little-known chapter of this conflict.