2022 Juror • John-Allan Namu
THENGOIFF Spotlights People Thinking Deeply About World Issues
The effort that went into creating really creative narratives was stellar and the number of people who made the submissions this year speaks to the fact that there is a space for people to consume art and film that talk about the underpinnings of our world and societies.
John-Allan Namu is one of Kenya’s globally recognized Investigative Journalists with a career spanning 17 years. The revered journalist has reported on issues and events in Kenya and the region, winning awards including the 2009 CNN African Journalist of the Year award.
Namu has also interviewed high-level politicians and power brokers from across the region, and investigated crimes committed in the highest reaches and lowest rungs of African society. This year, he brings nearly two decades of storytelling to the NGO International Film Festival as a member of the festival’s eight-member Jury.
Let’s meet John-Allan Namu
“When we (African Uncensored) set out to do stories, the first thing that we want to do is find out if they are in the public interest. So in a sense when you are making that decision, that specific topic has to be in the public interest, you are broadly speaking, engaging in some form of advocacy because you bring to light issues that the public need to know, that the public is not aware of or need to be more aware of and you are doing it in such a way that it exposes wrongdoing and possibly to highlight solutions.”
What are your thoughts on this year’s theme?
“This year’s theme is so relatable because it’s actually what we are living through now. If I am looking at Kenya for instance, Kenya is really on the frontline of changes to the climate that are devastating to the communities. I have reported on some of them myself and I can tell you that it isn’t some sort of made-up phenomenon. It really is something that’s changing the lifestyles of people in very real and sometimes irreparable ways.”
“When it comes to COVID, we are now living in a post-COVID era so to speak where we are starting to pick up the pieces of what it’s done to our economy more than that, the people who are still living with the impacts of having caught COVID and most importantly, there are people who lost their lives to COVID with their families going through a very difficult time.”
“COVID has really reoriented, in my thinking, the way we relate to one another and in some ways, in good ways, COVID has also led to the largest single period of transfer of wealth from people who earn average wages to the rich.”
“It has been an intense moment for retrospection about the economic system under which we live and I think it is really one of those important moments in humanity.”
“Finally, there is Conflict. Would I want a world without conflict, without the kind of death and loss right now? Of course, I would! That’s the desire of any right-thinking person. When we live in a time of such great distribution of information, it is so great. We can learn about how similarities and differences.”
How impactful would you say the festival is especially in disseminating information?
“The festival is a great way of spotlighting the work of people who are thinking deeply about these issues and not just thinking deeply but trying to create art and films that help people.”
“I enjoyed watching the films that were submitted for this year’s NGO IFF not just because it forces us to stop and reflect on these issues that people who submitted their films are really trying to talk about, but because a lot of them were really entertaining and I think that’s the balance that we must work as people who are engaged in film, journalism or any medium that we are supposed to be communicating.”
“It needs to be interesting and grab attention for people to sit up and pay attention. That’s the thing that I loved the most about this year’s submissions. The effort that went into creating really creative narratives was stellar and the number of people who made the submissions this year speaks to the fact that there is a space for people to consume art and film that talk about the underpinnings of our world and societies.”