The Faculty of Social Sciences hosts director Rob Lemkin at film symposium

The symposium featured a screening of the documentary-film African Apocalypse and was followed by a series of lectures and talks by and with director Rob Lemkin.

The Faculty of Social Sciences was delighted to host “African Apocalypse: a film symposium on racial violence, colonial accountability, literature and oral history”.

The all-day event included a screening of the BBC/BFI feature documentary “African Apocalypse” (dir. Rob Lemkin, 2020) and was followed by a series of talks with director Rob Lemkin on the film’s diverse themes and developments. The symposium also featured exclusive new clips and unused material. 

Group Photograph at the symposium


Rob Lemkin is an Emmy/Sundance award-winning documentary film director. He directed and co-wrote “African Apocalypse”.

His many previous films include Enemies of the People, a ground-breaking documentary about the killing fields of Cambodia that were used extensively by both prosecution and defence at the UN-backed trial of the Khmer Rouge.

There were three discussions which took place after the screening of the film:

  1. How the film was based on several years of on-the-ground oral history research in Niger and French colonial archives in Aix-en-Provence. Following widely seen television broadcasts in Niger and Nigeria of the film in Hausa, the discussion covered how the film connects with the complex politics of security in the Sahel today.
  2. How the communities in the film begun to demand a series of reparations for the colonial invasion of Niger, including submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur inquiry into the legacy of colonial crimes, and the prospects of success.
  3. How the film juxtaposes two sets of texts – Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Captain Voulet’s handwritten letters and reports on his murderous invasion, and another text from that year on colonial invasion written by a Hausa poet from Kano, Nigeria called Elhadji Al-Umaru. Umaru’s poems are searing and complex indictments of European violence.