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(Auto)Biographical and cinematographic exposition of Dambudzo Marechera on documentary film and video

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Documentary film is a technical artistic method whose importance in the representation of Dambudzo Marechera1 – probably Zimbabwe’s best-known creative writer¬†– has not been adequately investigated. Marechera is documented in sequences of The House of Hunger (Chris Austin, 1983), Olley Maruma’s After the Hunger and Drought (1985) and in untitled footage shot by Edwina Spicer (1984). These documentaries have cinematographic significance, but they also challenge and reproduce popular impressions of Marechera as an eccentric crazy writer. Besides communicating pro-filmic visuals of Marechera himself, the documentaries offer extensive oral presentations by Marechera on a broad range of topics, including his sanity or insanity and his notions on censorship, identity and his writing habits and plans. This article will outline the structure of each individual documentary, and the relationships between Marechera and the films’ directors will be explored.

Keywords: Marechera; autobiography; cinematography; creative writing; documentary film; psychopathology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Midlands State University

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film.¬†
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