USA, 2012
54 min
Director: JOANNE HERSHFIELD
PERENNIAL FILMS

 

 

“Mama C: Urban Warrior in the African Bush” tells the story of Charlotte O’Neal—or Mama C as she is known—poet, musician, visual artist, spoken word artist and ex-member of the Kansas City Black Panther Party. Mama C, whose life was formed growing up in the artistically and politically vibrant atmosphere of the African American community in Kansas City, KS, has lived for past forty years in the Tanzanian village of Imbaseni in the shadow of Mount Meru. Mama C speaks the dialect of black culture in the 1960s and Kiswahili, the lingua franca of East Africa’.

As a high-school student in the 1960s, she took part in community activism and Civil Rights work, leading a protest at her high-school to force the school administration to recognize the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King. She joined the Kansas City Black Panther Party as one of the youngest members and married Pete O’Neal. In 1971, Mama C and Pete joined Eldridge Cleaver and Black Panthers in exile in Algeria. A few years later, they moved to Tanzania to join African-American and international revolutionary expatriates who came to participate in President Julius Nyerere’s project of nation-building.

For almost forty years Mama C and Pete have remained true to what they see as the ideals of the Black Panther Party through their commitment to community organizing and human rights. Their home in Imbaseni is a multi-acre compound that includes their own house, the headquarters of the United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC), a children’s center that is home to twenty-two children they have