Community Cinema, “Pushing the Elephant”
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Pushing the Elephant," at the Champaign Public Library, March 17, 2011. Professor Eyamba Bokamba of the Lingustics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the discussion. Jack Brighton of Illinois Public media moderated the discussion. There were about 25 people in the audience.
In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo was imprisoned with her family during violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her harrowing experience included the nighttime arrest of her entire family by government agents, the execution of her husband, the birth of their twin sons in prison, and grim negotiations with prison guards to save the lives of her children. She emerged from the harrowing experience advocating forgiveness and reconciliation.
When war came to Rose's village, she was separated from her daughter, Nangabire, who was 4 years old at the time. Rose managed to escape with nine of her 10 children and was eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona. More than a decade later, Rose and Nangabire are reunited in Phoenix where they must face the past and build a new future. Rose struggles to find balance in her life as a mother of 10 and a full-time advocate for refugees, women, and peace in her country.