The serengeti is featured in the PBS eight-part series AFRICA. (Google Images)

A joint venture between Thirteen/WNET New York’s NATURE and National Geographic Television, AFRICA is an eight-part series, shot in widescreen, super 16mm format, that takes viewers on a kaleidoscopic adventure across Africa’s major regions and into the homes of the people who live there. Episode one takes on the Serengeti, focusing on two women searching for their spiritual identity. Alice Wangui, a Nairobi hair salon owner, takes a trip to her native Kikuyu village so that her child will be born with a sense of community. On the savanna proper, Flora Salonik lives in an isolated farming hamlet, and struggles with the decision of whether or not to return to her own roots: the bustling metropolis of Arusha, Tanzania.

Episode two follows Adam, 9, who crosses hundreds of miles of desolate and dangerous desert on his first trans-Saharan salt caravan in order to sell the salt for food and clothing.

Episode six involves the Sahel, the semi-arid border between the Sahara and the savanna. This episode follows Errou Sisse, a young man that must leave his girlfriend and travel hundreds of miles across parched earth with his family’s cattle in search of adequate grazing land. As he travels through the desolate landscape, he and his fellow herders must survive on milk, and what little they can trade in the widely scattered villages of the Sahel. Meanwhile, another young man is hoping to mark an important passage of his own. In a cliffside Dogon village in Mali, Atime Dogolo Saye awaits the sacred dama ceremony to honor the spirits of the dead. Without participating in the dama, Atime will forever remain a boy, denied the right to raise a family of his own. Will these two young men be successful in their journeys?

Each episode shares different stories of the continent. There is a ‘teaching tools’ section on the website for educators interested in sharing the series with students.


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