Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part II, Justification


The motor-bike cinema could be used for all types of social change communications in health, education and entertainment sectors.

The idea behind Cine-boda in Northern Bahr al Ghazal is that it could contribute to bridging gaps between local political processes and wider populations, specifically to support inter-community relations between migrating Arab pastoralists from Sudan and host populations.

In Northern Bahr al Ghazal, VISTAS has been supporting a remarkable process of government led peaceful coexistence between Sudanese nomadic pastoralists and Dinka host communities for years. Read more about this amazing work here.

As in most places, the peace processes in Northern Bahr al Ghazal generally involve elites (albeit an inclusive group of local ones) in the form of local officials, chiefs, civil society leaders and members of peace committees.

Dialogue among these ‘key-people’ (to borrow a term generated from decades of practical peace building research) is absolutely necessary to develop and enforce peaceful rules that can govern relations between communities in, or at risk of, ongoing conflict.

However, as anyone who has been involved in any public policy process knows, a major challenge is to ensure that outcomes of higher-level dialogue, confidence building and rule-making actually leads to wider social and behavioral change within and between communities, the “more people”.

Part of the solution is the strict and impartial enforcement of rules by state actors (in Northern Bahr al Ghazal this has included for better or worse the threat of “firing squad” for even minor deviation).

But an important part of the solution lies in disseminating the contents of agreements (the “rules”), demonstrating mutual benefits (such as reduced market prices), communicating successes (such as the payment of diya), addressing rumor and communicating authority. To meet these needs and prevent spoilers undermining the buy-in that exists, VISTAS has supported dissemination tours by joint-peace committee members.

This is where film can also play a role (with sufficient reach). Indeed, we believe it can complement these efforts in a unique and important way.

Film allows communities to experience the development of the rules they are expected to follow; to hear directly and incontrovertibly the commitments of leaders from both communities; and to see in Technicolor justice done, security guarantees enforced and economic benefits accrued.

Read part III of this post for more detailed results of the pilot tests.

Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part I


Q: What do some of the most remote and conflict-affected persons in the world need?
A: A mobile motorbike cinema?

Q: Are you sure….

USAID’s VISTAS program in South Sudan asked Transformedia to come up with a rugged mobile cinema solution for use in remote areas.

Our response was a solar-powered mobile motorcycle cinema, christened “Cine-boda”.

The solar and alternator charged Cine-boda can be used to transport and screen films to audiences of 250+ people in remote areas without access to external power for weeks at a time.

This post outlines the findings of our initial tests in a remote part of South Sudan

“Boda: East African motorbike taxi, originally used to transport people across the “no-mans-land” between the border posts without the paperwork involved with using motor vehicles crossing the international border.”

We needed to know how our concept would play in practice. So we arranged some tests.

The short video above is from our Cine-boda situation tests in remote areas of Northern Bhar al Ghazal State, South Sudan in late summer 2015. Massive thanks go to VISTAS team members Simon and Deng Deng who did a fantastic job of both running the kit and facilitating audience discussion.

We are now developing an improved Cine-boda Version 2 based on the lessons outlined in Part IV below and the test screenings outlined in Parts II and Part III. Please check them out and be in touch with your feedback!

World Theatre Day 2015, supported by Transformedia, OSIEA and USAID


South Sudan Theatre Organization, supported by Transformedia, OSIEA and USAID, organised a World Theatre Day festival in Juba on March 27th 2015. The event included lectures on the role of theatre in reconciliation and on the history of South Sudanese theatre, followed by performances from a broad range of drama groups including SSTO, Orupaap and Emmaus.

Many argue that reconciliation necessitates at heart a change in identity. At the least, we must transform a part of ourselves; that part which is defined as negation of another. This is an uncertain process that requires reflection and cross community exchanges, so that otherness be let go, contextualised or positively reshaped. This long term, not necessarily linear exercise is too often elusive, dismissed as “intangible”. But today this dialogue grabbed us all by the scruff of the neck, 1500+ performers and audience members alike.

SSTO’s tale of community strife and reconciliation had the audience in stitches and tears in equal measure. Orupaap’s truly inimitable fusion of modern and traditional dance was here set in an elaborate framework of dangling and knotting stools. On a personal level, the first ten minutes of Emmaus’s half hour show was quite simply the most beautiful thing I have seen since I witnessed Cirque Plume for the first time aged 10.

The themes showed a theatre in earnest reflection. Chairs featured highly, as symbols of power and position. The painful descent of from state-of-nature-paradise to brutish anarchy played out in slow motion. Every day life versus newspaper headlines… Ethnicity versus nation-belonging… Modernity versus tradition… And waves upon waves of convincing suffering, expressed on stage in technicolor, but always overcome at last by seemingly superhuman powers of forgiveness, or at least an incontrovertible, searing, burning desire for unity.

This was an angry and honest day, and full of purest celebration, struggling to terms with the disappointment of the last four years as well as the dislocation and community of the preceding decades. A daunting challenge indeed, but South Sudan’s artists showed that they are more than equal to the task.