Buddha in Africa


by Nicole Schafer
South Africa, Sweden | 2019 | 90 min | OV with Engl. Subs

Ennock is one of three hundred orphans from rural Malawi who have been placed in a Buddhist Chinese orphanage. The children and teenagers here must speak Mandarin, maintain Buddhist traditions, and are trained to master the difficult art of Shaolin Kung Fu.
The documentary by South African director Nicole Schafer offers intense insights into the lives of the children caught between the conflicting worlds of traditional village life and the strict discipline of the Chinese Confucian-Buddhist value system. Against the backdrop of China’s growing influence on the continent, Schafer’s film poses highly topical questions about education as indoctrination and about the right balance between seizing educational opportunities and surrendering one’s identity.


Director Nicole Schafer
Director Nicole Schafer

South African director Nicole Schafer (b. 1980) developed BUDDHA IN AFRICA over years of work. Nicole has lived in Malawi, where she produced award-winning stories for the pan-African Reuters magazine ‘Africa Journal’. Her other productions include South Africa’s leading investigative program ‘Carte Blanche’, Lonely Planet TV’s ‘Six Degrees’ and ‘Sport Traveller’. Nicole is the director of Thinking Strings Media, a production company based in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. She holds an MFA degree in Film and Television Production from the Uni-versity of Cape Town. Her graduation film, “The Ballad of Rosalind Ballingall,” was screened at the 2006 Frijbourg Film Festival.