I’m so proud of everyone in this documentary and I want to be friends with all of them.
Directed by Shameela Seedat, African Moot follows some of Africa’s top law students as they head to Botswana for the annual mooting competition, which is like a big debate meet. At this year’s event, the students meet to debate the refugee issue on the continent.
Before this film, I had no idea that moots were a thing, let alone that they happened every year or that students from my country had participated in this competition, but I am so glad to now be privy to this information. Like the documentary synopsis says, Moot follows these students and watches the thrill of preparing for the competition, debating each other and winning/losing different rounds. Even so, it is the hope that the film leaves you with that stands out to me. It’s amazing to watch the next generation of African human rights lawyers be so brilliant and care so much about the future of our continent and its people.
African Moot asks us the questions that its participants try to find answers to: what is Pan-Africanism? How do we care for one another? How do we protect our members of the LGBTQ community? How bad does someone have to be before we help them and how easy is that help to come by? And then, through the actions of its subjects, the film asks us, ‘how do you make something productive out of your experience, even if you don’t “win”?’
I’m African, and I know the general sense of hopelessness that sometimes comes with that, as if it’s too late for us to be anything better than we are right now. So, I think it’s incredibly powerful to see these incredibly smart people thinking about the good of the continent and not just themselves. It’s amazing to see them come up with solutions on how to make change, caring for, respecting and encouraging each other, even though they were competitors and competitive, and having the most amazing time doing it. African Moot lets me know our future is in good hands, and challenges me to make sure that two of those hands are mine.
African Moot is now playing at HotDocs ’22. For screening information, click here.