KOFEY & LARTEY
Directed by Sasha Rainbow REVIEW BY TARIK TULL
"Are you buying me the books," were the defining and closing words to this charming birds-eye view into the lives of the Old Fadama community in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The documentary, aptly titled, KOFIE AND LARTEY, is directed by Sasha Rainbow and narrated by one of the three subjects. The visually stunning film begins with the narrator, Abdallah, on a quest to bring education to the gaunt city of Agbogbloshie - a place referred to by the mainstream media as Soddom and Gommorah - where he ultimately decides to open a children's center to both nourish and provide a place of refuge for the youth of the community. Upon opening the center, Abdallah finds himself drawn to two subjects in particular: Kofie and Lartey. Using film and photography, he pulls them away from their laboring and scraping metal for twelve hours a day - a trade that helps propel Ghana’s economic system. Initially doubting the boys would be able to take to the objects foreign to them, to his surprise, the boys excel in their new practice; they even involve various other children within their community on their new journey.
"First it feeds them and then it kills them".
Speaking in reference to the cancerous toxins that fill the air daily stemming from their metal scraping practice, one in which they're paid next to nothing for. The documentary not only gives a raw glimpse of the beauty of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, but, also, takes back the narrative bestowed upon them from people far removed from their actual reality. With education being a major topic of conversation for this compelling piece, it shows you not only how over 30,000 children are denied access and resources to proper education, but how if they were provided the proper resources, their lives and behavioral patterns are sure to improve as we see through the personal growth of both Kofie and Lartey as they are supported by Abdallah.
Creating their own narrative that paints Agbogbloshie as a place of hardworking community civilians as opposed to the narrative that was placed upon them, for me, is what ultimately made this documentary the gem that it is. At first glance, one would think from the outside looking in, that this area is indeed a stifled environment to live in. As the narrator himself confessed, he didn't think that he would last more than a week upon arriving in Agbogbloshie after the death of his grandmother. However, as the documentary unfolds you see there is much more to this place than what meets the eye. By the end, I was spellbound by both the subjects and the environment that they inhabit and I’m excited to share this short with you now.