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Rebuilding Sierra Leone


UCR Sociologist Featured in Documentary Film About Rebuilding Sierra Leone

A Dec. 3 screening of “Pride of Lions” includes discussion of the brutal civil war with Augustine Kposowa and film director John Woehrle.

(November 24, 2009)

Augustine KposowaEnlarge

Augustine Kposowa

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – “Pride of Lions,” an award-winning documentary film about the efforts by Sierra Leoneans to rebuild their country after a brutal civil war, will be shown on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Humanities 1501 at the University of California, Riverside.

The screening is open to the public and is free, although a donation of $10 is suggested. Donations will support the work of Global Action Foundation, which is building a medical clinic featured in the film.

“Pride of Lions,” which was named best documentary at the Hardacre Film Festival and best feature documentary at the Red Rock Film Festival, is the first film about Sierra Leone to combine contemporary history with intimate stories of survivors of the 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002. Among those who are profiled: a child solder who was 8 when rebels killed his father and forced him into service; a civil servant, who recited the 23rd Psalm in the hope that her life will be spared while trying to escape; an amputee who forgave those who cut off both of his arms; a local physician who partners with an American medical student to build a clinic dedicated to the amputees; an agricultural entrepreneur who teaches farmers how to modernize their methods; and a high school principal who rebuilds his school, which the rebels used as a base during the war.

Augustine Kposowa, a professor of sociology at UCR and a native of Sierra Leone, is interviewed in the film and provides the 50-year historical framework for the conflict and its causes. He will lead a question-and-answer session after the screening with the film’s co-director and executive producer, John Woehrle.

Kposowa said the film relates to the brutality of the war; the trauma of survivors who suffered amputated limbs, often at the hands of young children; and whether and how a country is restored to wholeness.

The screening is sponsored by UCR’s African Student Programs and the departments of Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology and History.

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The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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