Amazing old footage would have been some people’s first view of the continent.
This striking footage from 1942 shows life across various parts of Africa. The footage was made by Castle Films, who today are one of the world’s major home movie distributors. Based in California and founded in 1924 they are responsible for masses of important footage from history.
This short snippet of silent footage would have been, back in 1942 when travel was far more costly, time consuming and hazardous than it is today, one of the first views many people in the UK and USA would have had of African life, African wildlife and African landscapes. No doubt the footage would have helped to dispel myths about African life perpetuated by novelists and racist colonialists of the time, who often portrayed local cultures as barbaric or rudimentary.
In a guide to film-making later published by Castle Films for enthusiastic amateur film makers the company used this film as an example of a “travelogue” type film, they wrote: “Native Africa was originally issued as a travelogue, boasting “scenes never before filmed” from the Congo.”
Take a look at the footage: