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Drive-in movie van a hit in rural Africa

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-05 08:00
Children at Chawama, Zambia, welcome the mobile film van on July 11, 2017. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Last July, Wang and three of her colleagues visited 12 villages and suburbs surrounding the Zambian cities of Lusaka, Kabwe, Ndola and Kitwe to do screenings of domestic hit movies like Monster Hunt, SPL 2: A Time for Consequences and Finding Mr Right 2. Wang was deeply impressed by the eagerness of the audience to learn more about the outside world. In Zambia, there are only four cinemas and approximately 3 million television sets in the entire country, according to Liao.

"We needed to at least provide them exposure to this kind of entertainment. This is what the people of Zambia need," one of the local staff members says.

Since there are more than 70 dialects spoken there, the team relied largely on the local staff to translate and help communicate with the local audiences.

"Once, when the van got stuck in the mud, the local villagers and staff members helped push it out," Wang says.

The projections were usually held between 10 am and 7 pm. Children made up the majority of the audience members during the daytime while their parents were at work.

Faustina Sikaando, principal of a primary school in Twalubuka near Ndola, thinks that movies helped to broaden the children's horizons.

When the van was due to arrive in the area to screen movies, the school suspended classes in advance to allow the students to attend. Sikaando says it was the first time that the people in the village had seen a mobile cinema.

"Chinese activities are welcomed here in Zambia. Actually, we have been familiar with Chinese people for a long time," she says.

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