Transcript: Tarzan Doesn't Live Here Anymore | Sep 10, 1975

(enchanting music plays)

Colourful concentric circles enlarge. A caption appears on screen. It reads “Ontario Educational Communications Authority.”

(rhythmic drumming plays)

Fast clips show local tribes in their daily activities, a straw village, traditional buildings, men wearing turbans, women wearing colourful dresses and a factory. A title in white letters reads “The Africa File.”

[chanting in Arabic]

A zoom shot homes in on a map of Africa.

John says NOT LONG AGO, AFTER A
YEAR OF CAREFUL PLANNING,
SIX FILMMAKERS FROM CANADA
TRAVELLED 7,000 MILES ACROSS
THE ATLANTIC TO THE
WEST COAST OF AFRICA.
WE CARRIED WITH US MORE THAN
JUST LIGHTS, TAPE RECORDERS
AND CAMERAS.
WE ALSO CAME WITH A LOT OF
MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS.

(drumming)

John continues AHEAD OF US LAY FIVE MONTHS OF
FILMING IN A LAND OF EXTREME
CONTRASTS, OF EXTRAORDINARY
PEOPLE AND PLACES.
THE PROGRAM YOU ARE ABOUT
TO SEE IS A COLLECTION OF
IMPRESSIONS AND REFLECTIONS
ON WHAT WE SAW, HEARD,
AND FELT DURING OUR JOURNEY.

Waves crash on a beach.

John continues IT'S A FILMED RECORD OF
STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND.

The title changes to “Tarzan doesn’t live here anymore.”

John says ON SEPTEMBER 20th, AFTER A
15-HOUR FLIGHT, WE ARRIVE
IN ACCRA, THE CAPITA
CITY OF GHANA.
TEMPERATURE, 103
DEGREES IN THE SHADE.
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS.
MY FIRST IMPRESSION WHEN WE
GOT OFF THE PLANE, I STOPPED
SOMEWHERE NEAR THE COAST, WAS
ONE OF TREMENDOUS HUMIDITY.
NOT PARTICULARLY HEAT, BUT
TREMENDOUS HUMIDITY, WHICH
STUCK WITH US ALL THE TIME
WE WERE IN WEST AFRICA.
I PROBABLY NOTICED THE
HUMIDITY WHEN WE ARRIVED
SIMPLY BECAUSE I REALIZED THIS
WOULD BE A PROBLEM IN TERMS
OF OUR SHOOTING, AS IT DID
HAPPEN, SOME OF OUR EQUIPMENT
DID RUST WHILE WE WERE THERE.
THE HUMIDITY WAS SUCH WE WOULD
BE DRENCHED WITH PERSPIRATION
ALMOST TWO MINUTES AFTER WE
STARTED, AND FROM THEN ON,
YOU WERE BATHED ALL THE
TIME YOU WERE WORKING.

An aerial view of the airport appears.

Barbara says THE COLOURS HIT ME WAS
ACTUALLY THERE, AFTER ALL
THE PACKING AND PLANNING.

John says ONE OF THE STRONGEST
IMPRESSIONS, I THINK, THE
FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS WAS
TAKING A WALK DOWNTOWN AND
SUDDENLY FINDING YOURSELF
LITERALLY IMMERSED IN AN
AFRICAN CITY WHICH
WAS TOTALLY FOREIGN.
THE PEOPLE, THE COLOUR, THE
SOUNDS, THE SMELLS, EVERYTHING
WAS TOTALLY FOREIGN TO
WHAT I PERSONALLY HAD EVER
KNOWN BEFORE.

A man wearing a white uniform directs traffic.

Barbara says IF YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO
AFRICA BEFORE, YOU HAVE A SET
OF IMAGES THAT YOU PERCEIVE
AFRICA IS GOING TO BE ABOUT.

John says IF I HAD IMAGINED ANYTHING
OUT OF MOVIES OR PICTURE
BOOKS, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
COMPLETELY INCORRECT.
WHAT WE DID ENCOUNTER WAS
TREMENDOUS WEALTH AND
OPULENCE, IN SOME PLACES, AT
LEAST BY COMPARISON TO ANY
TARZAN MOVIE WE'VE EVER SEEN.
IN OTHER PLACES, WE'D GO OUT
OF A MAJOR CITY BY 20 MILES,
AND WE'D BE 20 MILES
AND 2,000 YEARS AWAY.

[traffic din]

John continues WE SPENT THE FIRST COUPLE
OF DAYS RESTING AT THE HOTEL
TRYING TO SHAKE OFF JET LAG,
AND GETTING THE EQUIPMENT
READY FOR THE TRIP.
THE NEXT DAY, WE GATHERED ON
THE HOTEL PATIO AND BEGAN TO
CONSOLIDATE OUR PLANS.

The caption changes to “Barbara Barde. Education Supervisor.”

Barbara sits next to a group o people. She’s in her mid-thirties with blond hair. She’s wearing glasses and a red patterned blouse.

Barbara says IT'S ABOUT 150 KILOMETRES,
AND WE SHOULD HIT THE BORDER
AGAIN SOMETIME BETWEEN, WHAT,
THEY GET BACK FROM LUNCH
DID RICHARD SAID, 2 O'CLOCK?

Pat says I THINK SO, YES.

John says NEXT TWO DAYS WE'VE GOT
FOUR BORDER CROSSINGS.

Barbara says I KNOW.

The caption changes to “Don Hutchison. Cameraman.”

Don Hutchison sits next to Barbara. He’s in his early forties, with a goatee and brown hair. He’s wearing a light shirt.

John says AND WE'VE GOT ALL THE
DOCUMENTS THAT WE NEED?

Barbara says YES, WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING.

John says WE GOT ALL THE CONTACTS?

The caption changes to “Pat Messecar. Production Assistant.”

Pat is in her thirties with short dark brown hair and bangs. She’s wearing a red striped shirt.

Pat says WE'VE GOT AN INTRODUCTION
TO SOMEONE IN THE
TOURIST OFFICE.

John says IN TERMS OF SHOOTING...

The caption changes to “John Labow. Director.”

John is in his late thirties, with a dark goatee and brown hair. He’s wearing a white polo shirt.

John continues IN SPITE OF ALL THE
PRE-PRODUCTION DISCUSSIONS IN
CANADA, NOW THAT WE WERE
ACTUALLY IN AFRICA, THERE WERE
A LOT OF DETAILS THAT STILL
HAD TO BE NAILED DOWN.

The caption changes to “Larry Johnson. Soundman.”

Larry is in his thirties, with a blond goatee and matching wavy hair. He’s wearing a light mustard T-shirt.

John says WE'LL DISCUSS IT BRIEFLY
NOW SO DON KNOWS, AND LARRY
KNOWS, AND AL KNOWS, IN
TERMS OF IDENTIFICATION.
WE DISCOVERED IN THE FIRST
COUPLE OF DAYS THAT SOME OF
OUR VISA ARRANGEMENTS HAD BEEN
MISLAID IN THE DUSTY FILES
OF THE PASSPORT OFFICE.
THE TELEGRAMS REQUESTING
ACCOMMODATION IN SOME OF THE
COUNTRIES WE WERE GOING
TO VISIT HAD GONE ASTRAY.
THE WHOLE BUSINESS OF FILMING
IN AFRICA WAS GOING TO BE A
NIGHTMARE IN LOGISTICS.

Back at the table, John asks OKAY, WHAT ABOUT THE FILM,
AL, THAT WE'VE GOT NOW?

The caption changes to “Allen Rogers. Assistant Camera, lighting.”

Allen is in his mid-forties, with a beard and curly brown hair. He’s wearing a white shirt.

Allen says YEAH, THE BAGS ARE WORKING.
WE ARE SHORT OF A FEW BAGS.
WE DIDN'T GET THE EXTRA
BECAUSE THEY WENT UP WITH THE
FRENCH CREW, THE EXTRAS WE
THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO HAVE.
BUT WHAT WE'VE GOT, IF WE'RE
CAREFUL, AND NOT SORT OF END
UP WITH A LOT OF SHORT ENDS, I
THINK WE'LL PROBABLY MAKE IT
ON WHAT WE'VE GOT.

[honking]
A young man carries three boxes and a few bags on top of his head across a crowded street.

Barbara says I THINK BEFORE I WENT I
HAD VISIONS OF A SORT OF
SAFARI-TYPE THING, LIKE YOU
SEE IN THE HOLLYWOOD MOVIE,
WITH EVERYONE IN THEIR BUSH
JACKETS AND BOUNCING ACROSS
THE VELDT, OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

John says AFRICA IS A SET PIECE, AND
HAS BEEN FOR SO MANY MOVIES
IN THE PAST, HOLLYWOOD-TYPE
MOVIES, MOST OF WHICH WERE
NEVER SHOT IN AFRICA.
WE GREW UP SEEING TARZAN
MOVIES WHICH WERE SHOT DURING
WORLD WAR II ON A BACK LOT IN
CALIFORNIA, AND THAT BECAME
OUR IMAGE OF THE CLICHE
JUNGLE, AND CLICHE AFRICA.
AND MOST PEOPLE TODAY, EVEN VERY
LEARNED AND WELL-READ PEOPLE,
ASKED US ABOUT THE ANIMALS
AFTER WE CAME BACK.
ALL THE WILD ANIMALS.
THERE ARE NO WILD ANIMALS
THAT WE SAW IN WEST AFRICA.

[honking]

Don says FORTUNATELY, WE'D SURVIVED
THE VOYAGE BETTER THAN SOME
OF THE EQUIPMENT.
EARLY IN THE FILMING, WE FOUND
THAT THE LEAD TRUCK KEPT
BREAKING DOWN.
SO MUCH FOR MODERN TECHNOLOGY.

Larry and Pat stand by a van. Larry speaks to a large microphone as a group of curious children gather to watch him.

Larry says OKAY, THIS IS OECA
10543230, WEST AFRICA.
SOUND ROLL 60.
AND HAVING HAD A SLIGHT
MECHANICAL PROBLEM WITH ONE OF
THE TRUCKS, WE ARE GOING TO BE
SHOOTING IN THE MARKET RIGHT
HERE INSTEAD OF ABOUT A MILE
AWAY IN THE CLOTH MARKET
WE WERE GOING TO BE.
SO THIS IS STARTING SOUND ROLL
60, AND IT WILL BE CAMERA
ROLL 83 CONTINUED.
STARTING WITH
SCENE 81, TAKE ONE.

Pat says SCENE 81 TAKE ONE.
MOST FILMS THAT YOU SEE ON
TELEVISION IN REFERENCE TO
AFRICA ARE STARVING KIDS IN
BIAFRA OR STARVING KIDS IN THE
SAHEL, OR SMALL DEVELOPMENT
PROJECTS WHERE THEY ARE TRYING
TO IMPROVE GROUND NUTS OR COCOA,
OR OF NICE DANCING NATIVES.
SO THAT YOU TEND TO THINK OF
AFRICA AS LITTLE VILLAGES IN
THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE WHERE
THERE ARE NICE DANCING NATIVES
OR STARVING KIDS.
THE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT
THERE ARE BIG BUSTLING
COSMOPOLITAN CITIES FULL OF
MILLIONAIRES WHO CONDUCT
BUSINESS THE SAME WAY
WE DO EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Larry says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
SURPRISED ME IS THAT THERE IS
SO MUCH IN THE PRESS HERE,
PARTICULARLY IN BLACK AMERICA
IN THE PRESS CRYING OUT
AGAINST COLONIALISM
AND ALL THE REST OF IT.
AND I REALLY EXPECTED, AS
A WHITE, IN BLACK AFRICA --
AND IT
IS
BLACK AFRICA.
IT'S NO LONGER COLONIAL.
I MEAN, IT'S OWNED
AND RUN BY AFRICANS.
I EXPECTED TO RUN INTO A LOT
MORE RESENTMENT THAN WE DID.
I CAN'T REMEMBER, SPEAKING
FOR MYSELF, OF ONE INCIDENT,
ONE RACIAL INCIDENT
THAT OCCURRED.

Don says WE DISCOVERED THAT THE
REGULAR SERVICE STATIONS IN
ACCRA DIDN'T HAVE THE
NECESSARY SPARE PARTS, SO WE
TOOK OUR TRUCK TO A TECHNICAL
SCHOOL WHERE THE STUDENTS
WERE VERY COOPERATIVE, AND
THEY ACTUALLY MANUFACTURED
THE NEW PARTS THAT WE NEEDED.

A picture shows local men working in the truck engine.

Larry says THE STUDENTS WORKED AT RECORD
SPEED, AND BY THE TIME
WE WERE FINISHED
THE DAY'S FILMING,
OUR TRUCK WAS READY TO GO.

John says WE PACKED ALL THE GEAR, 2,114
POUNDS OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT,
LIGHTS AND BAGGAGE.
AND WE WERE ON OUR WAY.

(drum music plays)

Barbara says WE HAD TO DRIVE THROUGH TOGO.
I THINK WE HAD WEINER
SCHNITZEL THERE.
THAT WAS JUST
IN TRANSIT.
THEN WE WENT TO DAHOMEY, THE
CAPITAL CITY OF COTONOU, AND
JUST STAYED THERE OVERNIGHT
BEFORE HEADING UP COUNTRY.

A map reads “Ghana, Togo, Dahomey.” An animated dotted line stretches from a white dot that reads “Accra” to another one that reads “Cotonou.”

John says OCTOBER 9th, THE FRENCH
COUNTRY OF DAHOMEY,
TEMPERATURE 104 DEGREES.
WE START TAKING SALT
TABLETS WITH OUR MEALS.
IT'S BEAUTIFUL HERE,
BUT INCREDIBLY HOT.

Barbara says WHEN YOU GO FROM A FORMER
BRITISH COLONY, SUCH AS GHANA,
TO A FORMER FRENCH COLONY,
SUCH AS DAHOMEY, YOU REALLY
NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE.
AND I THINK THIS HAS A LOT
TO DO WITH COLONIALISM.
THAT THE PEOPLE ON THE FRENCH
COLONIES SPEAK FRENCH MUCH
MORE READILY THAN SPEAK
THEIR LOCAL LANGUAGES.
THEY ALSO WEAR EUROPEAN
CLOTHES A LOT MORE.
SORT OF THE FRENCH AFRICAN
SUITS AS THEY'RE CALLED.
VERY TAILORED AND
BUSINESS LIKE.
THE FRENCH PERMEATED AFRICA
TO A GREATER EXTENT
THAN THE ENGLISH DID.
THE ENGLISH REALLY
BELIEVED IN INDIRECT RULE.
WELL, LET'S LET THE AFRICANS
RULE THEIR COUNTRY.
WE'LL SEND OVER COLONIAL
ADMINISTRATORS.
BUT, EVENTUALLY, THEY'RE GOING
TO HAVE TO BE INDEPENDENT.
SO LET'S NOT REALLY PUSH IT.
WHERE THE FRENCH FOLLOWED
A POLICY OF ASSIMILATION,
WHICH IS TO TURN ALL OF THE
AFRICANS INTO BLACK FRENCHMEN.
AND YOU FEEL THAT WHEN YOU
ARE THERE, THAT THERE ARE
PATISSERIES WHERE YOU CAN
GO AND HAVE ICE CREAM AND
CROISSANTS AND ALL THE
THINGS YOU'D GET IN PARIS.

People swim in a hotel pool.

John says IN THE FRENCH COUNTRIES, THE
CITIES AND TOWNS SEEM TO BE
OASIS OF FRENCH CULTURE.
BUT THE HOTELS WERE WHITE
HOTELS RUN BY WHITE PEOPLE.
REMEMBER THE BENIN HOTEL?
A GREAT BIG MODERN
HOTEL WITH A SORT OF
A FORMAL GARDEN AND A
SWIMMING POOL, AND FRENCH
CLASSICAL MUSIC AND FRENCH
SERVICE IN THE RESTAURANTS,
AND SOMEONE DOWN BY THE
POOL SIDE SERVING DRINKS.
I MEAN, THIS REALLY WASN'T
AFRICA, AS FAR AS WE WERE
CONCERNED, BUT IT WAS.
AND THIS IS ONE OF THE
ELEMENTS OF CONTRAST.
THAT, SUDDENLY, YOU'RE IN
THIS TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT
WHERE YOU ARE EXITING
A TARZAN-TYPE THING.
YOU ARE EXPECTING JUNGLES AND
LIANAS AND HUGE TREES, AND
ALL THAT, AND THEY EXIST,
AND MAYBE NOT FAR AWAY
FROM THE HOTEL.

Par says IN DAHOMEY, ARRANGEMENTS HAD
BEEN MADE FOR US TO DO SOME
FILMING OF DANCES THAT WOULD
RELATE THE HISTORY OF THE
KINGS OF DAHOMEY, THE LEGENDS
OF THE WARRIOR WOMEN.
I REALIZED HOW LITTLE I KNEW
OF AFRICA IN FINDING OUT THAT
THE AMAZON WARRIORS WERE
FROM AFRICA AND NOT FROM
SOUTH AMERICA.

Allen drives the van along a road.

The caption changes to “Abomey, Dahomey.”

Pat continues BEFORE WE DID THE ACTUAL
FILMING, WE WERE TAKEN TO THE
VILLAGE TO MEET THE PEOPLE,
TO GET THEIR APPROVAL THAT
WE WOULD GO ON FILMING.
REALLY, WE DIDN'T
KNOW WHAT TO DO.
WE WERE TAKEN
INTO THIS VILLAGE.
THE PEOPLE DIDN'T SPEAK
ENGLISH OR FRENCH.
AND I DIDN'T QUITE
KNOW HOW TO REACT.
THEY CAME OUT AND
DANCED FOR US.
IT HAD STARTED TO RAIN.
AND WE THOUGHT WE COULD STEP
UNDER THE EAVES OF A HOUSE,
AND THEN SOMEBODY WHISPERED,
WELL MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T
BECAUSE THIS LOOKS LIKE IT
MIGHT BE THE CHIEF'S HOUSE
OR SOMETHING.
WE JUST DIDN'T KNOW
ENOUGH, HOW TO ACT.
WE DIDN'T HAVE THE SOCIAL
GRACES THAT WE NEEDED.

A woman carries an umbrella to protect a man as a group of women play an instrument and sign behind them.

Allen says DAHOMEY WAS A
FASCINATING PLACE.
THE ANCIENT KINGS OF
DAHOMEY, WHO WERE SLAVERS,
WERE GUARDED BY FIERCE,
AMAZONIAN WARRIORESSES.
AND THIS PROBABLY WAS THE HOME
OF THE AMAZONS BECAUSE THE
PORTUGUESE WERE THE FIRST
WHITE PEOPLE TO SEE DAHOMEY,
AND OF COURSE THE PORTUGUESE
WERE THE ONES WHO NAMED THE
AMAZON RIVER.
AND WE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF
FILMING THE AMAZON GUARDS
OF THE KING.
IT WAS QUITE AN
EXCITING EXPERIENCE.
I THINK WE ALL FELT THAT WE
WERE PART OF A SET, YOU KNOW,
MANY OF US FELT LIKE STEWART
GRANGER IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES.
THERE WAS A MUSIC, THE
EXCITEMENT, JUST THE GENERAL
VISCERAL APPEAL OF SOMETHING
WE'D SEEN ALL OUR LIVES IN
MOVIES, AND READ ABOUT
IN H. RIDER HAGGARD BOOKS.
BUT IT HAD COME TO
LIFE, AND IT WAS REAL.
IT WAS NOT A TOURIST
SHOW PUT ON FOR TOURISTS.
WE WERE FILMING
SOMETHING THAT DID EXIST.

Pat says TAKE ONE.
[singing/drumming]

Young women dance moving their arms and waiving a sword.

Allen says WE'D BE SLEEPING IN THE MOTEL
AT NIGHT, AND YOU WOULD HEAR
THESE DRUMS OFF IN THE
DISTANCE, AND CRIES, AND EVERY
ONCE IN A WHILE, A SCREAM,
AND THE DRUMS WOULD CONTINUE,
AND THE SOUND WOULD RECEDE,
AND COME TOWARDS YOU
AND RECEDE AGAIN.
WE LATER FOUND OUT THEY WERE
PRACTISING EXORCISM
AND EXERCISING SPIRITS FROM
A COMPOUND NOT FAR AWAY
FROM THE HOTEL.

Pictures show Allen and Pat at the motel.

Allen continues WE ALSO HAD THE FEELING THAT
IN THAT COMMUNITY OF MAYBE
40,000-50,000 PEOPLE LIVING
THERE THAT EVERY PERSON IN
THAT AREA WAS AWARE
OF WHAT WE WERE DOING
AT EVERY POINT IN TIME.
THAT SOMEHOW THERE WAS A
NETWORK OF COMMUNICATION,
WHETHER YOU WANT TO CALL IT
MAGICAL, OR WHETHER YOU WANT
TO CALL IT A VERY
SOPHISTICATED SYSTEM OF
GETTING INFORMATION AROUND.
WE ALWAYS HAD THE FEELING
THEY KNEW WHAT WE WERE DOING.
[thunder rumbling]
IT'S JUST A SENSE THAT YOU ARE
IN A COMMUNITY THAT IS ALIVE
AND SURROUNDING YOU, AND THAT
YOU'RE THERE AS AN OUTSIDER.
AND THERE'S NO RESENTMENT
TOWARDS YOU, BUT THERE IS
A VERY CAREFUL
WATCHING GOING ON.
YOU ARE BEING OBSERVED.
IN AN AREA LIKE ABOMEY, THERE
ARE STILL VERY STRONG TIES TO
THE PAST.
THERE ARE NO
TELEPHONES TO SPEAK OF.
THERE IS NO TELETYPE.
THERE IS NO TELEGRAPH SYSTEM
EXCEPT FOR THE DRUMS.
AND THE DRUMS ARE A VITAL PART
OF THAT PARTICULAR CULTURE
IN THAT PARTICULAR AREA.
PEOPLE DO COMMUNICATE
WITH THE DRUM CONSTANTLY.
AND YOU HEAR THE
DRUMS ALL THE TIME.
THE DRUMS ARE ALWAYS GOING.

As the sun sets different traditional masks flash by.

Allen continues SO EVERY NIGHT WE WENT TO
SLEEP IN THESE ROOMS WITH THE
DRUMS OUTSIDE PUNCTUATED
BY SCREAMS, AND AT THE END
KNOWING THAT SOMEONE WAS
SNEAKING AROUND OUR ROOMS
WHILE WE SLEPT.

Pat says I HAD MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT
THINGS BECAUSE WE WENT INTO
A TINY VILLAGE, WHICH
I FELT WAS PRIMITIVE.
AND THE PEOPLE
DIDN'T SPEAK ENGLISH.
BUT AFTER WE FINISHED THE
FILMING, A YOUNG MAN CAME UP
AND SPOKE TO ME IN FRENCH.
AND I SAID, IN ENGLISH, I'M
SORRY, I DON'T SPEAK FRENCH.
HE SWITCHED TO ENGLISH.
AND HE'S A UNIVERSITY STUDENT,
AND HE'S FROM THAT VILLAGE.
SO YOU CAN'T JUDGE JUST
BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE LIVING
IN MUD HUTS AND THATCHED
ROOVES FOR THE CLIMATE.
IT'S PROBABLY A MUCH MORE
COMFORTABLE WAY TO LIVE.
I FOUND IT QUITE PLEASANT.
AND THEY ARE VERY CLEAN.
THE FLOOR IS MUD, BUT
EVERYTHING IS KEPT SWEPT AND
EXTREMELY WELL-TENDED.
I THINK THEY HAVE TO
CARRY THEIR WATER.
IN SOME VILLAGES WE WERE IN
THE WATER HAD RUN OUT SO THEY
WERE CARRYING WATER
SEVERAL MILES.

Larry says WE WERE GIVEN SPECIAL
PERMISSION TO FILM THIS GROUP
OF VILLAGERS WHO WERE LEARNING
HOW TO BECOME FETISH PRIESTS.
THEY WERE BEING TAUGHT HOW TO
INDUCE A TRANCE STATE IN ORDER
TO COMMUNICATE WITH
THE SPIRIT WORLD.

[chanting]
Shirtless women walk in a row leaning forward and looking down shaking maracas.

John says I WAS EXTREMELY IMPRESSED
BY THE THOUGHT OF SOME YOUNG
PEOPLE WHO GROW UP IN A
VILLAGE IN AFRICA, AND VILLAGE
LIFE IS SO COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT THAN CITY LIFE.
THEY LIVE IN ALMOST A STONE
AGE CULTURE, BY OUR STANDARDS.
THEY GROW UP IN A VILLAGE,
THEN GO TO SCHOOL
IN THE BIG CITY.
YOU MIGHT EVEN GO TO
UNIVERSITY IN THE BIG CITY.

[humming]
[chanting]
[drumming]

Now, the women sit leaning forward and looking to the ground.

Larry says WE WERE FILMING THE SORCERER'S
APPRENTICE, THE CEREMONY.
AND TO US, WE WERE JUST PITCHED
BACK INTO THE DARK AGES.
A BOY CAME UP TO ME WEARING
A BRIGHT SPORTS SHIRT.
HE SAID TO ME, HI,
WHERE ARE YOU GUYS FROM?
HE LIVED IN THAT VILLAGE.
HE OBVIOUSLY SPOKE FRENCH
BECAUSE IT WAS A FRENCH COUNTRY.
HE SPOKE THE DIALECT OF THE
VILLAGE BECAUSE THIS WAS HIS
OWN LANGUAGE.
AND IN ENGLISH, HE SAID, HI,
GUYS, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
AND YET HIS PARENTS IN THAT
VILLAGE WERE THE VERY PEOPLE
WHO WERE DOING THE SORCERER'S
APPRENTICE NUMBER.
AND THAT IS REALLY
HARD TO UNDERSTAND.

[drumming/singing]

John says WE WENT ON TO NIGERIA, AND
WE HAD A LOT OF DOUBTS
AND A LOT APPREHENSIONS
ON OUR WAY IN BECAUSE
WE'D HEARD SO MUCH
ABOUT WHAT LAGOS WAS LIKE
AND ABOUT THE
SITUATION IN NIGERIA.
AND I PUT SITUATION IN QUOTES
BECAUSE THESE ARE REPORTS
FROM CONVERSATIONS WITH
WHITES WHO HAD BEEN THERE.
AND THEY PAINTED A
PRETTY BLACK PICTURE.
BRIGANDS ON THE HIGHWAYS,
ROBBERY IN THE CITIES,
BUT THAT KIND OF THING
NEVER HAPPENED TO US.
THE GHANAIANS MADE SOME POINT
OF TELLING US HOW FRIENDLY
GHANAIANS WERE, AND HOW
AGGRESSIVE AND POSSIBLY EVEN
HOSTILE PEOPLE MIGHT BE IN
LAGOS, SOUTHERN NIGERIA.
AND SURE ENOUGH, THE GHANAIANS
WERE FRIENDLY, AND LAGOS WAS
EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE.

The map of Africa appears.” The animated dotted line stretches from a white dot that reads “Cotonou” to another one that reads “Lagos.”

The caption changes to “Lagos, Nigeria.”

A close-up shot shows a tall white building.

John says SOUTHERN NIGERIA IS OIL RICH.
YOU SEE EVIDENCES OF THAT
ALL OVER LAGOS, WHICH IS A
HUSTLING, BUSTLING CITY.
BEFORE WE LEFT CANADA, WE
HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT THE
DROUGHT IN THE NORTH
AND WEST AFRICA.
WE FELT THIS WOULD PROBABLY
BE A TREMENDOUS HINDRANCE
TO OUR TRIP.
WE FELT VERY STRONG PERSONAL
RESERVATIONS ABOUT GOING
SOMEWHERE WHERE PEOPLE WERE
STARVING, AND WE WOULD BE
TOURING AROUND TAKING
PICTURES OF THEM.
WELL, LAGOS IS A TREMENDOUSLY
RICH CITY, AND THAT'S THE
IMPRESSION THAT IS MADE.
WE HEARD NOTHING ABOUT
THE DROUGHT IN LAGOS.
WE GOT IN THE NORTH, OF COURSE
WE
SAW
THE DROUGHT, AND IT
WAS ALL AROUND US.

(music plays)
An aerial view features ships sailing and a large modern city.

John continues WHEN WE WERE IN GHANA,
THEY WARNED US ABOUT LAGOS.
THEY SAID THAT PEOPLE
WOULD SEE US COMING.
AND SURE ENOUGH,
THEY SAW US COMING.
WE WERE HICKS FROM THE
COUNTRY COMPARED TO
THE PEOPLE IN LAGOS.
IT'S A MORE AGGRESSIVE CITY
THAN NEW YORK, AND THERE'S
MUCH MORE HUSTLE AND
BUSTLE THAN NEW YORK.
AND IF THERE HAD BEEN A
LAGOSIAN VERSION OF THE
BROOKLYN BRIDGE, SOMEBODY
WOULD HAVE TRIED TO SELL IT,
AND WE WOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT.

Pat says I THINK I WAS AMAZED.
IT'S A BIG CITY.
IT'S THE NEW YORK OF AFRICA.
I DON'T THINK
I COULD
COPE LIVING THERE.
IT'S JUST TOO CROWDED, TOO
NOISY, TOO MUCH TRAFFIC.

[traffic din]

Pat continues WE FILMED THE RAMADAN, WHICH
IS THE MUSLIM FESTIVAL.
EVERYONE WAS DRESSED IN THEIR
FINERY, AND THE MEN GO OUT
ON THEIR HORSES.
IT'S A BIG CELEBRATION BECAUSE
EVERYONE HAS BEEN FASTING.
WE FILMED AT THE
BIG PRAYING GROUNDS,
THE SERVICE THAT WAS DONE.
BARBARA AND I DIDN'T GO ONTO
THE GROUNDS BECAUSE THE
CUSTOMS ARE THAT THE
WOMEN ARE SEPARATE,
SO WE STAYED OUT
BY THE TRUCKS.
BUT WE WERE ABLE TO
SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

Barbara says YOU GET INTO AFRICAN LIFE AND
WEST AFRICAN LIFE IN A VERY
SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
YOU ADAPT VERY
QUICKLY, I THINK.

Allen saysYOU ARE SET IN A VERY RIGID
PATTERN IN NORTH AMERICA.
YOU DON'T SAY HELLO TO A
STRANGER ON THE STREET,
BUT EVERYBODY SAYS HELLO TO
YOU OR WAVES TO YOU IN AFRICA,
OR LOOKS AT YOU,
OR STARES AT YOU.
AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, IT'S
JUST THE WHOLE AFRICAN WAY OF
LIFE, THIS PERSONAL CONTACT
BETWEEN PEOPLE, RATHER THAN
THINGS AND OBJECTS, THAT, YOU
KNOW, YOU JUST FIND YOURSELF
TOTALLY INVOLVED
WITH THE PEOPLE.
AND YOU LOSE A LOT
OF INHIBITIONS.
I THINK THE FIRST WEEK OR SO
WE ALL FELT VERY, VERY FOREIGN.
WE ALL FELT LIKE WHITES
IN A BLACK SOCIETY.
BUT WITHIN A VERY, VERY
SHORT PERIOD OF TIME
THAT KIND OF FEELING
DISAPPEARED.
AND YOU STARTED TO PSYCH
YOURSELF INTO THE SOCIETY AND
FEEL THAT YOU REALLY WEREN'T
THAT DIFFERENT FROM THE PEOPLE
THAT WERE SURROUNDING YOU.

Larry says WE SPENT A WEEK FILMING
INDUSTRY OF ALL KINDS.
AND
THAT
WAS A
REAL EYE-OPENER.

(traditional music plays)

Larry continues WHEN WE TOOK A LOOK AT THE
VARIOUS MANUFACTURING AND
PROCESSING INDUSTRIES IN
NIGERIA, WE DISCOVERED THAT
IT'S NOT LIKE THE
OLD COLONIAL DAYS.
LIKE TODAY, MOST OF THE
COMPANIES ARE OWNED
AND MANAGED BY AFRICANS.
WE FOUND THAT A LOT OF THE
INDUSTRIAL PLANTS WHERE WE
FILMED HAD BEEN NATIONALIZED,
OR PARTLY NATIONALIZED BY THE
NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT.
THE NIGERIANS SAID TO THE
FOREIGNERS, HERE IS THE WAY
IT IS, WE'RE
TAKING OVER.
IF YOU DON'T
LIKE IT, GET OUT.
AFTER CENTURIES OF
COLONIALISM, IT SEEMED
TO BE A SORT OF REBIRTH OF
AFRICAN PRIDE IN THEMSELVES
AND IN WHAT THEY COULD DO.

Factory workers handle machinery.

Barbara says THE ATTITUDE NOW TOWARDS
FOREIGN INVESTORS IS UNLESS
YOU CAN DO SOMETHING FOR
US, DON'T BOTHER COMING.
THE DAYS OF EXPLOITATION SEEM
TO BE PASSING VERY QUICKLY.
AND IN A COUNTRY LIKE NIGERIA,
WHERE THEY HAVE A NATURAL
RESOURCE LIKE OIL, WHICH THE
REST OF THE WORLD NEEDS,
THEY'RE NOW IN A BETTER POSITION
TO BACK UP THEIR DEMANDS.

Fast clips show employees working at a paint company and an alcohol plant.

Allen says AFRICANS ARE NOW RUNNING
FACTORIES THAT MANUFACTURE
EVERYTHING FROM
LIQUOR TO SHOES.
THEY MANUFACTURE MEDICAL
SUPPLIES, BUILDING MATERIALS,
NAILS, STEEL GIRDERS, JUST
ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU COULD
THINK OF.
THE EQUIPMENT IS JUST AS
SOPHISTICATED AS ANYTHING YOU
MIGHT FIND IN EUROPE
OR NORTH AMERICA.
I SUPPOSE YOU COULD SUM IT UP
BY SAYING IT SEEMED A LONG
WAY FROM THE SORCERER'S
APPRENTICE VILLAGE IN DAHOMEY
TO THIS KIND OF MODERN,
TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT.

Pat says AFTER FILMING FOR A WEEK IN
INDUSTRIAL SITES, WE FELT AS
THOUGH WE WERE SHOOTING
IN CANADA AGAIN.
BUT THE FEELING
DIDN'T LAST LONG.
[honking]
LAGOS IS A TREMENDOUS
STUDY IN CONTRASTS.
YOU'VE GOT ALL THE MACHINERY
OF THE 20th CENTURY IN THE
FORM OF INDUSTRY, CONSUMER
GOODS, MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS.
EVERYTHING YOU'D EXPECT TO
FIND IN A MODERN METROPOLIS.
BUT YOU'VE ALSO GOT TRADITION,
STRONG TRADITIONS, THAT HAVE
CHANGED VERY LITTLE
FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

[drumming]

Barbara says ONE OF THE FILMING SITUATIONS
THAT WE HAD IN LAGOS WAS
FILMING THE TRADITIONAL
RULER OF THE CITY OF LAGOS,
WHO IS THE OBA.

Allen says THE DAY WE WENT TO THE
OBA'S PALACE WAS ONE OF THE
AUDIENCE DAYS WHEN SOME OF
THE ELDERS FROM THE COMMUNITY
WOULD COME AND PAY HOMAGE TO
THE OBA AND PERHAPS BRING
GIFTS, PERHAPS ASK FAVOURS,
THAT SORT OF THING.
WE SAW THIS ENORMOUS WHITE CAR
PULLING UP IN FRONT OF THE
PALACE, AND THE OBA GOT OUT.
HE DISAPPEARED.
AND SOME HOURS LATER WE
ENCOUNTERED HIM AGAIN
IN THE THRONE ROOM.
THERE WAS A GIANT THRONE IN
THE ROOM WITH AN EQUALLY
GIANT REPLICA OF A LION.
AND BESIDE THE THRONE WAS
A MAN WITH A GIANT SWORD.
IT WAS A SCENE RIGHT OUT OF
SOME ORIENTAL SPLENDOUR.

Barbara says HE'S ALL DRESSED IN WHITE
ROBES AND VERY, VERY
REGAL LOOKING.
AND HE COMES IN, AND HE
DOESN'T TALK TO ANY OF US.
THE OTHER CHIEFS COME IN,
AND THEY DO THIS DANCE.
HE DOESN'T SAY
ANYTHING TO US.
IF HE WANTS SOMETHING FILMED,
HE MOTIONS WITH HIS FINGER.
OVER THERE, OVER
THERE, OVER THERE.
WHICH MEANS, MAKE SURE YOU
GET THOSE OTHER CHIEFS, TOO
BECAUSE THEY ARE
REALLY IMPORTANT.

A young man plays drums in front of the OBA. People sit on the floor watching him.

Allen says IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME
BECAUSE OF HIS GESTURING
IN MIME THAT THE
OBA SPOKE ENGLISH.
AND WE FILMED HIM ON HIS
THRONE, AND WE WERE WHISPERING
QUESTIONS TO HIS MEN.

Barbara says AFTERWARD, WE'RE PACKING UP
THE TRUCK AND WE'RE GETTING
READY TO GO, AND THE OBA SAYS,
OH, DO YOU WANT TO COME UP
TO MY PRIVATE CHAMBERS
AND SEE WHERE I LIVE.

Allen says HE SAID, WOULD YOU FELLAS
LIKE A BEER WITH ME?
WE SAID, FINE.
AND WE FOLLOWED HIM INSIDE,
AND WE HAD A VERY NICE TALK
WITH THE OBA AND A
COUPLE OF HIS WIVES.
AND IT TURNED OUT THAT
HE WAS AN HONORARY MAYOR
OF SIOUX CITY, IOWA.
ONE OF HIS WIVES
WAS SCOTTISH.
HE WAS AN EXTREMELY
CULTURED WORLD TRAVELLER.
SPOKE ENGLISH WITH, I THINK,
A SLIGHT SCOTTISH ACCENT.

A old man kneels in front of the OBA.

Barbara says ALL OF A SUDDEN HE'S
TRANSFORMED FROM THIS REGAL
FIGURE WHO HAS BEEN SITTING AT
THIS THRONE, TO WHAT HE USED
TO BE BEFORE,
JUST A PHARMACIST.
YOU ARE SITTING AROUND HAVING
A BEER, TALKING ABOUT THE
PROBLEMS OF THE DAY, AND ALL
THE PROBLEMS OF BEING AN OBA
AND ALL THESE THINGS.
IT WAS VERY PLEASANT.

Pictures show the team relaxing with the local people.

Allen says WE LEFT LAGOS NEAR THE END
OF OCTOBER AND STARTED NORTH,
HEADING FOR THE
CITY OF IBADAN.

Barbara says WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING FROM
LAGOS TO IBADAN, WHICH IS
ONLY, I THINK IT'S ONLY 90
MILES, YOU REALLY GO THROUGH
TOWN AFTER TOWN AFTER TOWN.
IT'S LIKE DRIVING FROM
OAKVILLE TO TORONTO.
THAT YOU NEVER FEEL
YOU HIT THE COUNTRYSIDE.
THAT IT'S JUST A CITY THAT'S
GROWING AND GROWING AND GROWING.

The map of Africa appears. The animated dotted line stretches from a white dot that reads “Lagos” to another one that reads “Ibadan.”

The caption changes to “Ibadan, Nigeria.”

Barbara continues AS YOU'RE COMING INTO THE
CITY, YOU COME UP OVER THIS
HILL, AND ALL YOU CAN SEE
IN ANY DIRECTION IS HOUSES.
IT JUST STRIKES YOU,
LIKE IT'S A BIG VILLAGE.
AND IBADAN IS THE LARGEST
NATURAL CITY IN BLACK AFRICA.
IT'S AS IF IT WERE A VILLAGE,
AND IT JUST GREW AND GREW.
LAGOS, ACCRA, NIAMEY, ABUJAN,
NAIROBI, ALL OF THESE CITIES
ARE REALLY EUROPEAN CITIES
CREATED BY THE FORMER
COLONIAL ADMINISTRATORS.

(soft music plays)

Pat says SOMEONE TOLD US THAT NOT TOO
FAR FROM IBADAN, THERE WAS A
MUSEUM THAT CONTAINED SOME
REALLY INTERESTING AFRICAN ART.
SO WE DROVE OUT TO THE
TOWN TO HAVE A LOOK.

A close-up features a small golden sculpture of an animal.

Allen films and says OKAY, JUST BACK
A LITTLE BACK, JOHN.
I WANT TO LOOK RIGHT
DOWN HIS NOSTRILS.
THIS WAY HERE.
'CAUSE THE LIGHT --
OH, THAT'S BEAUTIFUL,
THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.
BACK A TOUCH.
NO, THIS WAY.
JUST A TOUCH.

Don says THIS ISN'T A DRACULA FILM.

Allen says IT'S A BEAUTIFUL SHOT.

John says THE MUSEUM WAS SMALL BUT
CONTAINED A TREMENDOUS VARIETY
OF FASCINATING OBJECTS.
MOST OF THEM WERE OVER
A THOUSAND YEARS OLD.
SOME OF THE CARVINGS WERE THE
KIND WE WERE USED TO SEEING.
BUT SOME OF THE ART WAS
SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN.
IT KIND OF DESTROYED
THE MYTH THAT ALL
AFRICAN ART WAS PRIMITIVE.
SOME OF THE HEADS WE SAW CAST
IN BRONZE OR SCULPTED IN
TERRA COTTA, DATED AS FAR
BACK AT THE 10th CENTURY.
AND THE PIECES WERE
INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.

[drumming]

Barbara says ONCE WE GOT PAST IBADAN, THE
LANDSCAPE BEGAN TO CHANGE.
WE WERE LEAVING THE COASTAL
REGION, AND HEADING TOWARDS
THE DRIER, CENTRAL
REGION OF NIGERIA.

Goats walk on the side of a hill.

Barbara continues
ZARIA IS LIKE SOMETHING
OUT OF THE BIBLE.
IT'S AN OLD WALLED TOWN
WITH A POPULATION OF MAYBE
A HUNDRED THOUSAND OR SO.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE
ARE MUSLIMS.
IT'S A CENTRE FOR ALL
TYPES OF CRAFTSMEN.
YOU'VE GOT WEAVERS,
DYERS, POTTERS,
ALL THE TRADITIONAL CRAFTS.
IT'S THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF
A BIG MODERN CITY LIKE LAGOS.

The caption changes to “Zaria, Nigeria.”

Pat says BARBARA HAD MADE SOME
ARRANGEMENTS IN ZARIA,
IN NIGERIA, TO
DO SOME FILMING.
AND WE WERE TOLD THEY WERE
QUITE AGREEABLE TO THAT,
BUT THEY'D LIKE THE TO HAVE
ONE OF THEIR PEOPLE WITH US,
JUST TO SHOW US AROUND,
WHICH WAS A GOOD IDEA.
WE WOULDN'T HAVE
SEEN AS MUCH.
AND WE WERE VERY LUCKY.
WE MET A TERRIFIC MAN.
WE CALLED HIM BABA.

Abstract patterns decorate the wall of mud houses.

John says BABA WAS A WISE OLD MAN WHO
LIVED IN NORTHERN NIGERIA.
AND HE WAS SOMEBODY
OUT OF A MOVIE.
A MARVELLOUS OLD MAN,
PROBABLY IN HIS SEVENTIES,
I WOULD IMAGINE.
WENT EVERYWHERE WITH A
SON WHO LOOKED ABOUT TEN,
BUT I THINK WAS FOURTEEN.
AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE BABA, WHICH MEANS OLD MAN,
AND IS A NOTE OF RESPECT, AND
HIS SON, WAS REALLY BEAUTIFUL
TO SEE.

[drumming]

Larry says ZARIA PROVINCE IS GOVERNED
BY AN EMIR, A MUSLIM CHIEF.
BABA WAS A VERY WELL KNOWN,
HIGHLY RESPECTED FIGURE
IN ZARIA.
IN HIS YOUNGER DAYS, HE'D BEEN
THE HEAD OF THE EMIR'S HORSE
GUARD, SO HE GOT PERMISSION
FOR US TO DO SOME FILMING IN
AND AROUND THE EMIR'S PALACE.

Allen says FOR US, I SUPPOSE IT KIND OF
HIT US LIKE SOMETHING OUT
OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS.
AT ONE TIME, THESE PEOPLE
HAD CONTROLLED A TREMENDOUS
EMPIRE IN NIGERIA, COMPLETE
WITH SULTANS, SLAVES, AND
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS
OF SUBJECTS.
EVEN TODAY, THE EMIR CONTROLS
A HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
AND THE MODERN, MILITARY
GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA HAS TO
BE PRETTY CAREFUL IN ITS
DEALINGS WITH THE MUSLIMS.

Men wearing colourful robes drive horses as the team films them.

Allen continues BABA WAS ONE OF THOSE
REMARKABLE HUMAN BEINGS,
YOU KNOW, WHO COULD MAKE THE
JUMP BETWEEN CULTURES WITH
PRACTICALLY NO TROUBLE.
WE COULDN'T HAVE ASKED FOR A
BETTER GUIDE THROUGH ZARIA.

Barbara says HE WAS YOUR
IDEAL MUSLIM MAN.
HE WAS A PERFECT MUSLIM.
HE SAW THE WORLD
IN TERMS OF ISLAM.
HE RELATED TO THE WORLD
IN TERMS OF ISLAM.
AND WHEN HE WOULD TAKE US
THROUGH VARIOUS PARTS OF THE
CITY TO GO FILMING, HE WOULD
SAY, BARBARA, DO YOU KNOW
WHY THAT SWAMP IS HERE?
AND HE WOULD PROCEED TO TELL
ME A VERY LONG STORY AS TO
ALL THE LEGENDS BEHIND
THAT PARTICULAR SWAMP.

Allen says WE LOVED BABA.
AND HE WAS EXTREMELY
HELPFUL TO US.
PARTLY BECAUSE HE WAS A
MARVELLOUS MAN, BASICALLY,
VERY FRIENDLY MAN, BUT ALSO
BECAUSE HE WAS AN EXTREMELY
INTELLIGENT MAN.
HE HAD A GREAT DESIRE
TO LEARN EVERYTHING.
WE GAVE HIM A COUPLE OF
HANDOUT BOOKS ON CANADA,
BUT HE REALLY READ THE BOOKS AND
LEARNED A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT
AND HAD SO MANY
QUESTIONS TO ASK US
ABOUT WHAT THE
BOOKS INDICATED.
AND THIS WAS PRETTY MARVELLOUS
TO MEET IN A COMPLETELY
FOREIGN CULTURE.

An old man sits on the ground molding a piece.

Barbara says ASK THEM IF THEY THINK
IT IS A GOOD PICTURE.
THEY SAID IT IS GOOD.

A boy says IT'S VERY NICE.

Pat says IT IS VERY NICE.
HE TOOK US IN TO MEET HIS
FAMILY, WHICH WAS REALLY QUITE
INTERESTING BECAUSE IT'S IN
A MUSLIM AREA, AND WE HADN'T
SEEN TOO MANY WOMEN BECAUSE
MOST OF THE WOMEN STAY IN THE
COMPOUND FROM THE TIME
THEY'RE OF MARRYING AGE
UNTIL THEY'RE GRANDMOTHERS.
BUT HE TOOK US INTO HIS FAMILY
COMPOUND AND INTRODUCED TO
HIS WIVES, HIS CHILDREN, HIS
GRANDCHILDREN, AND NEPHEWS
AND NIECES.
THEY HAVE LARGE FAMILIES,
AND THEY'RE VERY CLOSE.

Barbara shows a group of women a picture.

Pat says HE HAD SUCH AN
ATTITUDE, I GUESS.
WE ALL FELT VERY
CLOSE TO HIM.

Larry says HE WAS SUPPOSED TO MEET US
ONE DAY WHILE WE WERE FILMING.
WE WAITED MAYBE TWO
HOURS FOR HIM TO SHOW UP,
BUT HE DIDN'T COME.
HE'D NEVER BEEN LATE BEFORE,
AND WE REALLY STARTED
TO GET WORRIED.

Pat says HE FINALLY DID COME TO WHERE
WE WERE FILMING AND DIDN'T
SAY WHAT HAD HAPPENED,
BUT HIS SON TOLD ME,
HIS WATCH HAD BEEN STOLEN.
AND WE SAID TO HIM, WE'RE
SORRY YOUR WATCH IS GONE.
AND HIS ANSWER WAS, AS
ALLAH WILLS, I'M ALL RIGHT.
I'M HERE, AND
I'M HEALTHY.

The caption changes to “Niger.”

Barbara says ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT
TRIPS BY ROAD THAT WE WERE
GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE
THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE JOURNEY
WAS FROM NORTHERN NIGERIA TO
NIAMEY, THE CAPITAL OF NIGER.
IT'S PROBABLY A DISTANCE
ALTOGETHER OF OVER
2,000 KILOMETRES.
WELL, THE SECOND DAY OF THE
TRIP WAS THIS INCREDIBLE
SAND STORM.
IT WAS JUST LIKE YOU PICTURE
COMING ACROSS THE SAHARA.

[wind howling]
A man rides a dromedary across the desert.

Allen says NIGER, WE REALLY
MET DUST AND SAND.
THE THING WE'D BEEN
DREADING ALL ALONG.

Barbara says THE DUST COMES DOWN FROM
THE DESERT, AND IT'S CALLED
THE HARMATTAN.
IT'S LIKE A CLOUDY
DAY IN CANADA.
YOU CAN'T SEE THE SUN.
OR YOU SEE IT,
BUT VERY FAINTLY.
AND EVERYTHING IS HAZY.
AND IN SOME AREAS, IT'S A DUST
STORM, IT'S NOT JUST HAZE.

Allen says WE HAD TO TAPE UP
ALL THE EQUIPMENT WHILE
WE WERE TRAVELLING.
WE TAPED UP THE
TRUCKS THEMSELVES.
WE TAPED WINDOWS, WE TAPED
DOORS, EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY,
AND STILL THE DUST CAME IN.
THE RED, ORANGE
RED DUST OF AFRICA.

Barbara says AND EVERYTHING IS COVERED.
IT'S LIKE FINE RED TALCUM.

Larry says WE HAD TO STOP FOR GAS, AND
THAT WAS SOMETHING ELSE.

Barbara says IT WAS JUST LIKE THE DUST
BOWL, THE CANADIAN WEST
IN THE 1930s.
YOU WOULDN'T
HAVE BELIEVED IT.
THERE WAS THIS LITTLE GAS
STATION AND TWO PUMPS.
AND THE WINDOW WAS BROKEN, AND
THE WIND IS BLOWING, AND THE
CURTAIN'S BLOWING THROUGH
THE WINDOW, AND THERE'S NOT
A SOUL AROUND.
OH, IT WAS JUST AN
INCREDIBLE SCENE.
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS
LITTLE MAN COMES OUT OF
NOWHERE AND HE'S
ALL COVERED UP.
SINCE I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT
SPOKE FRENCH, EVERYBODY SAID
BARBARA, YOU HAVE TO GET
OUT THERE AND GET THE GAS.
I SAID, I'M NOT GETTING
OUT OF THIS TRUCK.
THEY SAID, YOU HAVE TO.
AND IT WAS JUST AS IF
YOU WERE GOING TO BE BLOWN
INTO A BIG SAND DUNE.
I NEVER ENCOUNTERED ANYTHING
LIKE IT IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

[wind howling]

Allen says WE GOT IT IN OUR LUNGS AND
OUR THROATS, INSIDE US TOO,
IN EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY.

Two pictures show Barbara and Pat wearing facial masks.

Pat says I LOST MY SENSE OF TASTE,
AND I COUGHED SO BADLY
THAT IT FRIGHTENED ME.
WENT TO A DOCTOR.
I SAID WHAT
CAN I DO FOR THIS?
AND HE SAID
AVOID THE DUST.
AND WE HAD A BIG
LAUGH, AND THAT WAS IT.
BUT I DIDN'T GET MY SENSE OF
TASTE BACK FOR THREE WEEKS
TO A MONTH.
I KEPT SAYING TO SOMEBODY,
IS THIS FOOD ALL RIGHT?
I'M NOT EATING SOMETHING
THAT I SHOULDN'T BE.

Allen says FINALLY, IN LATE NOVEMBER,
WE ARRIVED AT NIAMEY,
THE CAPITAL OF NIGER.

The map of Africa appears.” The animated dotted line stretches to a white dot that reads “Niamey.”

Larry says NIAMEY IS ON THE
FRINGE OF THE SAHARA.
WE'D HEARD THAT IT WAS
ONE OF THE AREAS HARDEST HIT
BY THE DROUGHT.
BUT FOR US, THE IMMEDIATE
PROBLEM WAS HOW TO SHIP OUT
THE FILM WE HAD SHOT
OVER THE PREVIOUS WEEKS.

Dromedaries carry branches down a street.

Barbara says THERE'S A CANADIAN MISSION,
THE SUDAN INTERIOR MISSION.
AND WE INTERVIEWING ONE OF
THE PEOPLE FROM THE MISSION.
AND I HAPPENED TO TELL THEM
ABOUT THE PROBLEMS THAT WE
WERE GOING TO HAVE WITH
SHIPPING OUR FILM TO LAGOS
TO BE PUT ON A PLANE
TO FLY TO CANADA.
AND HE SAID, OH, THAT'S NO
PROBLEM, WE HAVE A PILOT
THAT'S GOING TO LAGOS
TOMORROW, AND WE'LL PUT
THE FILM ON OUR PLANE.

A light aircraft takes off.

Pat says FROM THE AIR, WE GOT OUR
FIRST GOOD LOOK AT WHAT THE
DROUGHT HAD DONE.
IT WAS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT
WHAT WE WERE SEEING HAD ONCE
BEEN RICH GRAZING LAND FOR BIG
HERDS OF CAMELS AND CATTLE.

Barbara says I REMEMBER ONE NIGHT WE WERE
COMING BACK FROM EATING,
AND WE'D STOPPED AT A GAS
STATION TO GET SOME GAS.
AND THE TUAREGS ARE VERY,
VERY PROUD PEOPLE.
THEY ARE THE BLUE
MEN OF THE DESERT.
AND THEY'RE VERY STRONG.
AND THEY'RE VERY WEALTHY
IN THEIR OPEN TERMS.
BEFORE THE DROUGHT, LARGE
HERDS OF CAMELS AND GOATS
AND CATTLE.
AND HERE WAS THIS TUAREG IN
THE GAS STATION SELLING ME
THIS LITTLE BOX
THAT HE HAD MADE.
SO I SAID TO HIM, WHY ARE
YOU SELLING ME THIS BOX?
AND HE SAID BECAUSE I
DON'T HAVE ANY HERDS.
ALL MY HERDS HAVE DIED.
AND I SAID, DID YOU MAKE
THESE THINGS TO SELL
TO THE TOURISTS?
HE SAID, NO, I WOULDN'T MAKE
THINGS TO SELL TO THE TOURISTS,
I'M SELLING WHAT I HAVE.
AND I SAID, LOOK, I CAN'T BUY
IT, BUT I'LL GIVE YOU THE
EQUIVALENT MONEY
THAT THAT WOULD COST.
HE SAID, NO, I WILL
NOT TAKE YOUR MONEY.
AND HE WALKED AWAY.
AND IN THIS INSTANCE,
IT WAS SOMEBODY SAYING,
I CAN'T DO THAT.
I USED TO BE RICH.
I KNOW WHAT RICH MEANS.
I KNOW WHAT
BEING PROUD MEANS.
AND I WILL NOT, ALL OF A
SUDDEN, BECOME A SUBJECT
OF SOMEONE ELSE.

Pat says TAKE ONE.

Children sit on the floor watching a French program playing on the TV.

Allen says IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF NIGER,
ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS
WE FILMED WAS AN EDUCATIONAL
TELEVISION SET-UP.
AND HERE WE HAD PEOPLE
CONDUCTING, YOU KNOW,
THEIR BUSINESS THE
WAY WE DO IT BACK HOME,
AT AN OUTDOOR STUDIO
WITH A LESSON BEING TAUGHT
AND BEING TELEVISED
TO A CLASSROOM.

A male TV director says C'EST BON.

Allen says BANKS OF MONITORS, MODERN
CONSOLES, AND YET SCARCELY TEN
MILES AWAY IN A REFUGEE CAMP
IN LAZARETH, ALL THESE PEOPLE
WERE STARVING AND DYING, THE
PEOPLE WE HAD READ ABOUT.
YET THERE WAS NO SIGN OF IT
IN THE CITY WHERE WE WERE.
AND THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT REALLY GOT TO ME.

John says A MONTH IN THE HEAT AND
DUST JUST ABOUT DID US IN.
IT WAS REALLY GREAT TO BE
HEADING BACK TOWARDS THE RAIN
FORESTS AND THE COAST AGAIN.
WHAT WE HADN'T COUNTED ON WAS
THE FACT THE ARAB-ISRAELI WAR
WOULD HAVE AN
AFFECT ON OUR TRIP.
AS IT HAPPENED, GASOLINE
SHORTAGES HIT US IN
MID-DECEMBER AS WE HEADED
BACK TOWARDS GHANA.
WE HAD TO SPEND HOURS,
SOMETIMES DAYS,
LOOKING FOR SUPPLIES.
AT GOURMANTCHE AND UPPER
VOLTA, WE BOUGHT GAS FROM A
MARKET MAMMY WHO HAD A
COUPLE OF TEN GALLON DRUMS
HIDDEN AWAY.
IN OUAGADOUGOU, WE HAD
TO BUY GAS FROM A FRIENDLY
POLICE INSPECTOR.
THREE DAYS OF HARD DRIVING
AND WE WERE CLOSE TO
COMPLETING OUR JOURNEY.

The map of Africa appears.” The animated dotted line stretches from a white dot that reads “Niamey” to another one that reads “Gourmantche” and then to “Ouagadougou.” Finally, it goes down to a white dot that reads “Cape Coast.”

John continues WE TRAVELLED FROM THE SEA,
THROUGH THE RAIN FORESTS,
TO THE HOT, DRY
REGIONS OF THE SAHEL.
AND TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
WE CAME BACK AGAIN TO THE
SEACOAST OF GHANA.

[birds cawing]
Young fishermen stand on the beach pulling a net out of the sea.

Allen says THE FEELING COMING DOWN TO
THE COAST AFTER BEING UP IN
THE DESERT AREAS FOR SO LONG
WAS REALLY JUST A TREMENDOUS
FEELING OF RELIEF.
ALL OF A SUDDEN,
THERE IT WAS -- WATER.
AND AN ENDLESS AMOUNT OF IT.

Pat says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE
FILMED WERE THE SLAVE CASTLES
ALONG THE COAST.
I HAD ALWAYS HAD THE
IMPRESSION THAT JUST THE
WHITES HAD CAUSED
SLAVE TRADING.
BUT I FOUND OUT THERE THAT THERE
WAS A PAST HISTORY OF SLAVERY
AMONG THE DIFFERENT
PEOPLE THERE.
AND EVEN DIFFERENT TRIBES
WOULD CAPTURE THE OTHERS AND
THEN SELL THEM TO THE WHITE
SLAVERS SO THERE WERE
DIFFERENT PEOPLE
INVOLVED IN IT.
IT WASN'T JUST
THE WHITE PEOPLE.

(eerie music plays)
A canon sitting on a castle points to the sea.

Allen says I THINK THE SLAVE CASTLES
WERE AN INTERESTING THING.
THERE WAS A REAL FEELING OF
BEING THERE, OF NOT READING
ABOUT THE SLAVE TRADE AND
READING ABOUT THE SLAVE COAST,
BUT, ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY
WALKING THROUGH THE COURTYARDS
OF THESE CASTLES WHERE
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
SLAVES HAD BEEN IMPOUNDED
BEFORE BEING SHIPPED OFF TO
THE WEST INDIES AND
SHIPPED OFF TO AMERICA.
AND IT WAS... I DON'T KNOW HOW
YOU'D DESCRIBE THE FEELING.
THE CURIOUS THING ABOUT
IT IS, OF COURSE, REALLY,
IT WASN'T ONLY THE
WHITES WHO WERE SLAVERS.
THE PEOPLE WE FILMED IN
DAHOMEY WERE SLAVERS, ALSO.
AND THE AFRICANS KEPT POINTING
OUT TO US THE FACT THAT THEY
DIDN'T HOLD IT AGAINST US,
PARTICULARLY, OR EVEN THE
WHITE COLONIALS, TO A GREAT
DEGREE BECAUSE SOME OF THE
PEOPLE WE TALKED TO, LIKE
THE GUIDE AT THE CASTLE, HIS
ANCESTORS HAD BEEN SLAVERS,
ORIGINALLY, BEFORE THE WHITE
MAN EVER CAME.

[gate clangs shut]

Allen continues IT WAS DIFFICULT TO SEE A
BLACK HOLE IN THE GROUND
AND HAVE SOMEONE TELL YOU
HUNDREDS, PERHAPS THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE WERE HELD IN THAT PLACE
AT ONE TIME WITHOUT FEELING
THE PRESENCE OF THOSE PEOPLE.
I THINK WE ALL FELT
IT VERY STRONGLY.
THEY WERE PART OF THE
ATMOSPHERE OF THE EMPTY
SLAVE CASTLES.

A local man walks along a stone corridor carrying a lantern.

Allen continues IN A WAY, IT'S ALMOST A
FEELING OF GUILT, EVEN THOUGH
WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY PART
IN THE ACTUAL SLAVE TRADE.
I MEAN, CANADA DIDN'T.
WE WERE STILL WHITES.
AND, IN EFFECT, OUR RACE HAD
DONE THIS TO THESE PEOPLE.
YOU COULD SMELL IT, I THINK,
GOING THROUGH THE DUNGEONS,
SORT OF A DANK ATMOSPHERE,
EVEN AFTER ALL THIS TIME.
AND THE ECHOES OF FOOT
STEPS, THINGS OF THAT SORT,
REALLY GAVE IT A
SENSE OF IMMEDIACY.

A chain hangs from a gate.

Allen says WHITE CAPITALISTS WERE THE
ONES WHO REALLY MADE SLAVERY
AN INSTITUTION.
THEY SUPPLY HUGE HOLDING
TANKS AND NEW MARKETS.
WHAT THE WHITES DID WAS REALLY
REFINE A SYSTEM WHICH EXISTED
ALREADY AND EXPANDED
IT TREMENDOUSLY.
THEY BROUGHT WESTERN KNOW-HOW
TO THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE.
IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

John says FROM THE COAST, WE RETURNED
TO THE CAPITAL CITY OF ACCRA,
MARKING THE END
OF OUR JOURNEY.
SIX COUNTRIES, FIVE MONTHS,
AND 7,000 MILES LATER,
THE CIRCLE WAS COMPLETE.

The map shows the dotted white line forming an oval shape.

Holding a movie clapper board, Allen says IT IS A NEW DAY.
WE ARE ON CAMERA ROLL
216, SOUND ROLL 136.
THE SCENE NUMBER IS GE
122, AND IT IS TAKE ONE.

A local band plays.

Pat says I WAS WORRIED ABOUT COMING
BACK AND BEING IN AN OFFICE
OR BEING CONFINED AFTER
BEING OUT FOR SO LONG.
IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO SETTLE
BACK IN TO BEING HERE.
BUT TRYING TO EXPLAIN WHEN
YOU'VE BEEN AWAY SO LONG
WHAT HAD GONE ON, IT'S
REALLY DIFFICULT.

John says I ALSO FOUND WHEN I CAME BACK
HERE TO CANADA THAT THERE WAS
SOMETHING MISSING.
ALL OF A SUDDEN, I WAS BACK
IN THE STERILE ENVIRONMENT.
EVERYTHING WAS GREY.
IT ISN'T REALLY GREY, BUT BY
COMPARISON IT IS GREY BECAUSE
YOU'VE GOT THIS TREMENDOUS
RIOT OF COLOUR WHEREVER YOU GO
IN AFRICA, PARTICULARLY
IN WEST AFRICA.
AFTER BEING THERE FOR A LONG
PERIOD OF TIME, I FOUND MYSELF
SITTING IN THE SUBURBS
WISHING TO GOD THAT SOMEBODY
WOULD COME WALKING
DOWN THE STREET.
AND THEN SUDDENLY THINKING,
IF SOMEBODY DID COME DOWN THE
STREET I PROBABLY WOULDN'T GO
OUT AND TALK TO THEM ANYWAY.

Pat continues AND SEEING THE WASTE HERE.
IT REALLY BOTHERS ME.
IN AFRICA, NOT VERY
MUCH IS WASTED.
EVERYTHING IS USED.
YOU DON'T THROW
AWAY CARDBOARD BOXES,
YOU DON'T THROW AWAY CANS.
IN THE MARKETS THEY USE
THEM FOR CANDLE HOLDERS.
BOTTLES ARE REUSED.
EVERYTHING IS CONSERVED
AND USED AGAIN.

John says THERE WAS A FEELING, I KNOW,
WHEN IT WAS TIME TO LEAVE,
THAT WE'D ONLY SEEN A VERY,
VERY SMALL PORTION OF WHAT
WE COULD HAVE SEEN IN AFRICA.
IN NORTH AMERICA, TRAVELLING
AROUND FROM CITY TO CITY,
OR FROM PROVINCE TO PROVINCE,
OR FROM STATE TO STATE,
THERE'S A VARIETY.
BUT IT'S NOT AS PRONOUNCED,
REALLY, AS IT IS IN AFRICA,
WHERE YOU TRAVEL, SAY, A
HUNDRED MILES, AND SUDDENLY,
YOU'RE IN A TOTALLY
DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT.
YOU'RE BACK IN TIME.
THE PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT.
THE LOCATION IS DIFFERENT.
THEY DRESS DIFFERENT.
THE STORES, THE
SHOPS ARE DIFFERENT.
EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT
IN A SPACE OF A FEW
HUNDRED MILES, PERHAPS.

The team climbs a hill carrying the filming equipment.

Allen says WE ALL WENT THERE AS
PROFESSIONALS TO SHOOT A
PRECONCEIVED ASSIGNMENT.
PROBABLY ALL OF US COULD HAVE
SHOT OUR OWN FILM, OR FILMS,
AND EACH ONE OF THOSE
FILMING WOULD BE
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

John says WE LEFT WEST AFRICA WITH A
FEELING OF TREMENDOUS RESPECT
FOR THE PEOPLE AND
COUNTRIES WE'D VISITED.
ONE YOUNG BOY IN THE CITY
PROBABLY SUMMED IT UP
BEST FOR US.
HE ASKED US IF WE'D
EVER HEARD OF TARZAN.
WE SAID YES AND ASKED HIM
WHY HE WANTED TO KNOW.
HE SAID WITH A SMILE,
“BECAUSE TARZAN DOESN'T
LIVE HERE ANYMORE.”
HE WAS RIGHT.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

Special thanks governments and peoples of Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria, Niger and Upper Volta.

Producer and Director, John Labow.

The Ontario Educational Communications Authority 1975.

Watch: Tarzan Doesn't Live Here Anymore