Contributed By Jonathan Teo
First screened at the London Film Festival, Africa United is the heart-warming adventure of a group of kids who travel 3,000 miles to watch the World Cup in South Africa. The story kicks off in a town in Rwanda, where a young boy, Fabrice, sets a new record for juggling. A talent scout, impressed by the act, approaches Fabrice to try out for a warm-up act at the World Cup. Along with his best friend and “manager,” Dudu, and Dudu’s sister, Beatrice, the trio happily makes preparations for the trial.
Misfortune hits when Dudu leads the group onto the wrong bus. Originally destined for the national stadium in Kigali, the three now find themselves in Congo. Missing the tryouts, the group then decides to travel southwards by any means of transportation. Along the way, they meet and become friends with an ex-bandit, Foreman George, and Celeste, a girl forced into prostitution.
The group of kids go through a wild journey, which becomes increasingly difficult when they receive an unexpected piece of news. It was touching to watch the character of Beatrice saying a prayer for the team every now and then. The portrayal of Dudu as a constant source of encouragement to the group sheds light on the value of having an encourager in a team. “We’re a team; we will work it out,” chimes the optimistic, round-faced kid.
Overall, the movie contains a few good laughs, with an atypical storyline and the message that with perseverance and unity, anything is possible.