Africa Direct - Bat Couple / Rewriting Libraries

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Bats are cool creatures’ is the message from renowned bat biologist Iroro Tanshi. Bats dominate her life, day and night. She and her biologist husband Ben Obitte, comb the caves high up in Nigeria’s Afi mountains to research, monitor and understand different bat species, in order to protect them. Iroro was the first person to discover the seemingly lost short-tailed round leaf bat, last seen in the wild 45 years previously. In ‘Bat Couple’ by filmmaker Simpa Samson, we follow Iroro and Ben up the steep mountains and into dark caves, as well as at home on the ground, to understand their dedication to bat conservation and their award-winning research. They share their inspiring story, not only of their love of bats, but also of each other.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Wanjiru Koinange and her co-founder of Book Bunk, Angela Wachuka, are turning the page on the past. Their project is dedicated to restoring and transforming some of the city’s oldest public libraries, which date back to colonial times - and attitudes. Working together with the city council, and engaging the public directly, they ensure these libraries and their contents reflect today’s Kenyans and make way for future readers. ‘Rewriting Libraries’ by filmmaker Rahab Wambui details their work, past and present, and hears their ideas. They don’t want to erase the past - even those who tried to erase Africans from their own history – and instead choose to confront colonial views through public engagement. At the same time, they concentrate on including books by Africans rather than about them, to support multiple versions of Kenyan history that go beyond the previously dominant colonial perspective.

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