In an interview in Sight and Sound John Akomfrah remarks that “there is the myth of African Cinema and there is the reality of it. The myth is that it is largely made by people who live and work in Africa—but my sense is that the thing is much more fluid than that.… African Cinema is a film world in search of both a constituency and a community, and it realises tfiat it is potentially a borderless cinema” (Givanni 1995: 39). Akomfrah's statement underscores the existence of slippage between transnational and continental articulations of Africa, opening the debate around the nature of the relationship between Africa as origin and African diasporic identities.
Visions of Africa created by filmmakers on the shores of the Black Atlantic undeniably challenge monolithic constructions of origin and authenticity. This paper examines the nature of this challenge through an investigation of the aesthetic and ideological projects of three films: Soleil O (Med Hondo, Mauritania/France, 1970); Testament (John Akomfrah, Ghana/UK, 1988) and Ye Wonz Maibel/Deluge (Salem Mekuria, Ethiopia, 1997). Ultimately, the paper demonstrates that although each film possesses a divergent connection to Africa, all three probe the slippage between personal and national histories as a restorative force in redefining contexts of origin and identity.