35.875 people have died in the mediterranean sea since 1993 to today trying to reach a safe port. Hundreds continue to die monthly. Spanish and Italian governments have started prosecuting and forbidding navigation to any NGOs that will try to save their lives. Our brothers and sisters keep dying. The seas of the world are filled with black bodies.
Sally Fenaux Barleycorn’s short film, Unburied, is a visual poem of pain and remembrance. Dedicated to those buried in the waters, to their lost-at-sea souls; it is a moment for heartbreak, guiding their souls back home.
In this piercing and heartbreaking piece, Sally uses the Kola nut, and the significance of the ritual behind it, as a narrative device.
The Significance of the Kola Nut
The kola nut is the fruit of the kola trees that are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The caffeine-containing fruit of the tree is used as a flavouring ingredient in beverages, and is the origin of the term “cola”. It is chewed in many West African countries, in both private and social settings. The Kola nut has been a major part of the fabric of African life for centuries particularly in Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and predominantly for the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo people. In every traditional gathering, Kola nuts are highly esteemed channels of blessings. It is used during ceremonies related to marriage, child naming, initiation of Chiefs, funeral, and sacrifices made to the various deities in Africa. A kola nut ceremony is briefly described in Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel “Things Fall Apart”. The eating of kola nuts is referred to at least a further ten times in the novel showing the significance of the kola nut in pre-colonial 1890s Igbo culture in Nigeria. It is also featured prominently in Chris Abani’s 2004 novel “GraceLand”; in the “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, and is repeatedly mentioned in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Half of a Yellow Sun”.
“He who brings the Kola nut brings life.”
Unburied will be shown at Creative Interruptions festival! For more information about Sally, and her film, visit a previous post: https://creativeinterruptions.com/unburied-a-short-film-by-sally-fenaux-barleycorn/