Charles Mensah, President of FEPACI (Federation of African Filmmakers), has passed away. His funeral will take place in Libreville, Gabon during the week of 13 June.
FEPACI Secretary General Seipati Bulane Hopa writes the following tribute:
FEPACI MOURNS THE PASSING ON OF ITS LEADER – ITS COLLEAGUE – BROTHER AND FRIEND
President Charles Mensah, the man who, by his mere presence exuded energy of serene tranquillity and an aura of soothing calmness is no more. His sword is placed aside for another to pick it up and use it to keep cutting through the maze of forest of challenges which continue to impact our world of cinema in Africa.
Like a bride who has just lost her groom, FEPACI is thrown into a turbulence of pain. The pain is even deeper because our President was a known dissident who resented the notion of struggle and poverty so prevalent within the African Cinema economic landscape and so enduringly imposed on its professionals, he was a known proponent of tangible and measurable progress, he was a man who believed in film makers, film institutions and film legislations designed by architects of success and prosperity. It is sorely painful and heartbreaking that with decades of personal investment and contributions he made in guiding FEPACI to a future of prosperity, he made an unceremonious early exit before that dream was fully realized. We would have liked him to be there in the season of our harvest as we celebrate the fruits of conquest of collectively building a viable, competent and competitive cultural economy empowered to sustain the diverse needs of our cultural production world.
He was the kind of leader who preferred to follow the lead, who led from behind, who allowed innovation, his was to put on the flood lights and make us see the way, everyday was sunrise where his leadership was concerned, he needed no appointment, no rendezvous to help solve problems and bring forth solutions. He was always there – available and ready to advance the cause of change.
The loss of a giant intellectual of the stature of Charles Mensah lets rip a catharsis that creates a temporary physical redundancy that allows the mind to work overtime while we wallow in its powerful impact of pain as inflicted by a loss of our president, our mentor, brother and friend, it compels us to take a moment off the buzz and pressures of our roller coaster world – it makes us pause to think and analyse where we are, why we are there, where we could be and how we could get there. In that moment of temporary paralysis, there is real introspection and inquiry of important and unpretentious questions.
Like an elegant eagle in flight – soaring high into the beckoning glory of the winds of heavens, Charles Mensah is now in a place where spring will no longer bring down the demise of broken leaves, where the bitter colds of the winters of the Karoo will no longer make bodies shiver, where the drowning rains of the tropics will no longer pour out with wanton vengeance, where the harsh winds of the Sahara will not endow all in dust. You sang your songs through the use of your lens and images of your films and recited your poetry through the sounds of melodies and amazing colours and nuances of your cultural landscape.
Rest in Peace Sebata sa Aferika.