NJANGAAN is the name given to children attending the « Dara » ou « Koteb » (Coranic school). In making this film, I am fighting against certain religious practices which enslave the people.
The marabouts constitute a a social class of considerable political, economical and social influence in the African muslim countries. But attacking maraboutism is not attacking Islam to me : this must be clearly understood.
By their privileged position, the marabouts have allowed the introduction and support of imperialism and neo imperialism. Using religion, they strengthened their social position, dimissing the common good and the interest of the people, for the most part muslim.
The Coranic school is considered like good training ; that’s why a fanatic father decides to send his child the the Dara for him to become a Soldier of God. The marabout exploit the families in the name of religion, the children are not educated, but become professional beggars and are, in fact, used as unpaid workforce.
In the film, my purpose is to reveal that the influence of religion is so strong that even the present institutions do not dare to stand against it. My purpose is also to show how religion is used to exploit those people. As a result, this generation seeking awareness is sacrified.
Mahama JOHNSON TRAORÉ
Born in Dakar in 1942, Mahama Johnson Traoré studied electronic engineering in Senegal and Mali. He then goes to France and discover cinema through one of his technical class. He doesn’t wand to record the actors playing, but wants to direct them. He studied at the Conservatoire indépendant du cinéma français and did internships at the ORTF, and in italian and german crews. In 1968, he directs his first feature, « Diankha-bi », about the situation of women in Senegal. His second film is about the same issue : « Diegue-bi » (1970) tells the story of an official that misappropriates public funds to seduce a courtesan. The film was a very big success in Dakar. But other issues caught his attention as well : his priority becomes making social and political films to bring the african audiences to a greater awareness of the continent’s main issues. « Lambaay », « Reou-takh » and « Njangaan » belong to that period of his work.