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Icarus Film
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From the Cuba Media Project of the Americas Media Initiative
Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator
A film by Katrin Hansing
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In April 1965, Freddy Ilanga, a fifteen-year-old Congolese youth, became Che Guevara’s personal Swahili teacher and translator during the latter’s secret mission in the Congo to train anti-Mobutu rebels. After seven intense months by Che Guevara’s side, the Cuban authorities sent Freddy to Cuba. During his early years, Freddy thought that his stay in Cuba would be temporary. However, 40 years passed, during which time he lost all contact with his family and homeland. That is until 2003, when he received an unexpected phone call from Bukavu, his home town. His family had finally found him.

FREDDY ILLANGA: CHE'S SWAHILI TRANSLATOR is a documentary about Freddy Ilanga, an African man whose life was abruptly transformed through a chance encounter with one of the great icons of the 20th Century, and which has predominantly been determined by the power struggles of the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution. It is a story about migration and displacement and the high human costs of exile and family separation.

2011 African Film Festival, New York
  

24 minutes / color
Release: 2013
Copyright: 2009
Sale: $248

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Biographies, Caribbean, Cold War Era, Cuba, Globalization, Latin American Studies, Politics, Social Movements

Related Titles:
El Dia Que Me Quieras: A haunting meditation on the last picture taken of Che Guevara, as he lay dead on a table surrounded by his captors.

Mobutu: The definitive history and visual record of the rise and fall of Joseph Désiré Mobutu, ruler of Zaire (the Congo) for over 30 years.

They Would All Be Queens: The stories of women from the Soviet Union who married Cuban men and moved to Cuba before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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