DER Documentary

Tubabs In Africa

by Amy Flannery, Mary Flannery and Michael Ford
produced by Yellowcat Productions
color, 56 min, 2003

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

In the Gambia, West Africa, locals have a name for foreigners; they call them "Tubabs" a term derived from "two bob", the standard fee British colonialists used to pay Gambians for odd jobs. In this film we follow a group of students from St. Mary's College in Maryland on a summerlong jaunt deep into the Gambia to study West African language and culture. The result is a story about a group of American teenagers traveling outside their comfort zones in search of adventure, knowledge and self-discovery.

The filmmakers investigate issues surrounding modern-day colonialism, Westerner's relationship to developing countries, and the traditions of the Gambian people. The film serves as a meditation on that familiar topic, the study-abroad experience, and like any travel experience, the film is most entertaining when things go wrong. The bus breaks down, the students get lost, a mission goes awry, and the very moments that are the most awful at the time end up being the most memorable. Anyone who spent time overseas during college or high school, will see a reminder of their travels in this film and recall a bit of the Tubab in themselves.

Suitable for preparation to any fieldwork or travel abroad experience where the goal is to foster awareness and cross-cultural understanding. Shows the value of experiencing another culture first hand.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Georgetown Independent Film Festival, Washington, DC, July 2003
The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival, Oregon, 2004
XII International Festival of Ethnographical Films, Nuoro, Italy, 2004

Related Resources
Study Guide

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts