Ithemba takes you there in a rich, verite tapestryabout the band Liyana, eight edgy young musicians who negotiate their country’s chaoticpolitical waters, economic collapse and deep-seated prejudices with humor and grit.
Imagine a country where more people die of AIDS, malnutrition and lack of medical careeach week than are killed in Afghanistan, Iraq or Darfur. Where hospitals operatewithout doctors, urban neighborhoods suffer months without water, and unemploymenttops 90 percent.
Then imagine navigating that country from a wheelchair, withoutfunctioning hands, or with some other disability in a culture where the disabled are seenas cursed. You don’t have to imagine. iThemba takes you there in a rich, verite tapestryabout the band Liyana, eight edgy young musicians who negotiate their country’s chaoticpolitical waters, economic collapse and deep-seated prejudices with humor and grit.
Burkett is an old-fashioned storyteller with unwaveringfaith in the power of well-wrought tales, which she’sbeen telling from Cuba to Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan toZimbabwe as a historian and documentary filmmaker, areporter for the Miami Herald, in nine books of nonfiction,and scores of articles in America’s leadingmagazines, as she tries to change the world, one storyat a time. In recent years, she’s chosen richly texturedtales that celebrate the forgotten, that take viewers andreaders inside the realities of people they never really notice, perhaps subconsciously refuse to notice.She won an Oscar for best short documentary for Music by Prudence; she has receivedawards from the National Press Club, Penney-Missouri and the New York Newswomen;and she has received grants from the Eastman Fund, the National Endowment for theHumanities, the Ford Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Twicea senior Fulbright Scholar, she has lived or worked in 13 countries and currently dividesher time between homes in Zimbabwe and upstate New York.