W hen Chike Nwoffiah arrived in the Bay Area from Nigeria to pursue a career in biotech, he was shocked to see the way Africa was portrayed. Home to over one billion people, it’s a vibrant land full of both modern cities and rural villages, yet few are exposed to the rich diversity and vitality of the continent and its people. Leaving his corporate life behind, Chike pursued the arts, becoming an accomplished actor, theater director, and filmmaker. But of all of his endeavors, founding the Silicon Valley African Film Festival—a celebration of African film, music, food, art, fashion, and culture—feels closest to his heart. Now in its 10th year, the festival is transforming perceptions and giving Africans a chance to share their stories.
“Until the lion learns to speak, the tale of the hunt will only glorify the hunter. This is the impetus behind the founding of the film festival.” -Chike Nwoffiah
“For far too long, the story of Africa has been told through lenses far removed from the continent, leading to blurred perceptions and historical distortions. When those of us from the continent come here and see, feel, and touch the Africa that is projected here, it’s disheartening. It’s either the Tarzan narrative of people living in the jungle, swinging from trees, or the National Geographic narrative of children starving with flies on their faces. Until the lion learns to speak, the tale of the hunt will only glorify the hunter. This is the impetus behind the founding of the film festival. We want to present the real stories of Africa—good, bad, or ugly—and we want Africans to tell those stories.”
Article originally appeared in inissue 11.4 “Profiles”