Broad Masingisa derives plots for his films from his cultural experiences as a Maasai. Photo \ TRT Afrika

By Staff Reporter

Broad Masingisa ventured into film production after feeling aggravated by the portrayal of his Maasai community, a nomadic group in East Africa that straddles the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

The Maasais occupy large swathes of land neighbouring the world-famous Serengeti wildlife park and Africa's tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.

Their colourful semi-nomadic lifestyle is a big draw to international tourists who are fascinated by their cultural identity.

But misrepresentations also abound over the community's relations with its farming neighbours and the Maasai way of life - often depicted as outdated in some movies.

Masingisa, who comes from the Morogoro region in Tanzania, has had a front-seat view of the regular clashes between farmers and Maasai herders, which have on occasion left some of his relatives with permanent injuries.

So in 2018 he ventured into filmmaking despite having no training in the craft. His only drive was to educate his community and their neighbours on peaceful co-existence as well as change some negative narrative about the Maasai.

At the same, he hopes to help members of the Maasai nomadic community to embrace positive modern way of life while not abandoning their rich cultural heritage.

Broad Masingisa says his plunge into the film industry initially drew rebuke from his community. Photo \ TRT Afrika

His films are produced in the local Maasai and Kiswahili languages.

This film producer learnt filmmaking by watching other people's films, he told TRT Afrika.

"I have been watching other people's films from the international and domestic film industry with the aim of learning how they write stories and how they prepare their films," he said.

Masingisa said he can watch a film more than five times to have a good grasp of the content, but also to learn techniques on directing and filming. This lack of formal training in the complex and creative processes of filmmaking has unsurprisingly come with a toll.

In 2018 he abandoned a film in the final stages due to poor quality of the footage and sound. He said the film lacked continuity because he had not mastered directing techniques.

Broad Masingisa is hopeful about the power of film to change attitudes among the Maasai. Photo \ TRT Afrika

The failure broke his heart and drew rebuke from the society that saw him as wasting time in engaging in such a complex project without any film education.

Despite losing money and time he did not give up. He carried on and eventually released his film Gisoi.

The storyline is about a man who places a bracelet on a pregnant mother - a culture that allows him to book himself a wife if the child born is a girl.

The ancient practice deprives the female child of her freedom to choose a husband of her liking when she grows up.

Gisoi last month won best film award at the Morogoro Film Festival.

Broad Masingisa's films have earned him awards and recognition in Tanzania. Photo \ TRT Afrika

Masingisa said he wishes to see change of attitude towards filmmaking which he sees as a job like any other.

He also wants the youth of his community to use their talents to educate people through film as it is an easy way to convey education.

He also participates in various seminars organized by the local Art Council to learn more about the ethics in the film industry in Tanzania.

Recently he participated in the production of a short film produced with support from Chinese company aimed at promoting Tanzania and its tourist attractions. Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan was also involved in the project.

The young man has also been organising concerts where youngsters debate about the community's traditions, and has been preparing documentaries aimed at preserving traditions he considers positive and would like future generations to inherit.

TRT Afrika