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Colours of the Alphabet screens across Africa in 30 Languages on UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day

The documentary Colours of the Alphabet, which is produced by University of the West of Scotland academic and Director of the Creative Media Academy, Professor Nick Higgins and directed by Dr Alastair Cole of the University of Newcastle is set to be screened across Africa on 21 Feb 2018.

The screening will be the first ever simultaneous multi-lingual live stream of any film to all 54 African countries. Released on the AfriDocs platform in conjunction with UNESCO, the film, which takes an intimate look into the African classroom and the consequences of not teaching children in their mother tongue, will be made available in 27 indigenous African languages in addition to French, Portuguese and English.

Colours of the Alphabet set to be screened across Africa
Colours of the Alphabet set to be screened across Africa

The streaming of the film is the final part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded impact campaign that has led Professor Higgins and Dr Cole to work with the US based Amara platform, the Institute of Translating and Interpreting (ITI), Screen Language and Subtrain to create online training materials for over 60 African based translators. These translators now form an African Film Translator Network and will be an enduring legacy of the project as they continue to subtitle films for the AfriDocs network.

The project has also attracted the support of UNESCO, given not only the release date on International Mother Language Day, but also the film's pertinent subject matter and the unique and free multi-lingual distribution strategy.

The release will be supported by a social media campaign #mytonguemystory that will allow each of the 60 translators and members of the public to share their own stories in their own languages on the project's Facebook and Twitter pages.

We are delighted to be working with AfriDocs and UNESCO to bring this unique documentary film to audiences all across Africa.
Professor Nick Higgins Director of UWS Creative Media Academy | University of the West of Scotland Professor Nick Higgins, UWS academic and Director of the Creative Media Academy

Professor Nick Higgins says: "For many viewers this will be the first time they will see a film subtitled in their own language and we hope this new network of film translators will continue to subtitle films for AfriDocs and others, in what will be a fitting legacy for International Mother Language Day 2018."

The film will be available from 21 Feb on the Afridocs website in the following languages: Akan, Amharic, Bemba, Ewe, Fula, French, Hausa, Igbo, Kikuyyu, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Lozi, Luganda, Luo, Magalasy, Moore, Nyanja, Oshiwambo, Portuguese, Tswana, Shona, Soli, Swahili, Tigrinya, Tsonga, Tswana, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu.