By :
Jean-Marie TENO
Cameroon, 1996
34 min
A key-documentary on everyday life depicted as a survival in the “grey-economy” of urban chaos of post-colonial Cameroon.
Investigating the source of the chaos that infects contemporary African life with violence, poverty, repression, etc., Teno quotes a friend's telling parable: "Funerals are so important to us....If we don't bury a friend or foe well, we are likely to see his ghost often until the day we unbury him and bury him again according to the tradition. We didn't bury colonization well, and we can see its ghost everywhere!"

For centuries Africa was marked by the violence of the slave trade and of European colonialism. After independence, the violence of colonial regimes gave way to domestic corruption and violence which have invariably steered the African continent towards a state of economic and social chaos.

Jacky, a university graduate with a law degree, searches in vain for a job corresponding to his qualifications. After a series of disappointments, he ends up taking up the profession of his parents: shopkeeper at the central market.

Irene Pesonka, a qualified civil servant in a government ministry, has to take on a second job selling doughnuts at a roadside stand just to make ends meet.

Pascale Marthine Tayou, a sculptor and poet, finds his working material in the huge piles of garbage which clog the streets of Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon. He dubs his update on arte povera or "slum art": the artistic expression of the decrepit state of Cameroonian society.

The stories of these three individuals describe the chaos of urban life in Cameroon today. At the same time they illustrate the vital role played by the "informal" economic sector in which more and more Cameroonians find themselves obligated to operate.Teno's films are available for download on except for North-American viewers; from USA and Canada you can order DVD's directly from