Paying Tribute to Akpor Otebele

By Maria Tanner | September 28, 2017

Assistant Professor Roland Adjovi shares memories of friend and colleague, Akpor Otebele

On 31 August 2017, Akpor B Otebele passed away. I wish to pay tribute to him in memory of our friendship and the legacy I saw him building.

During my tenure at the Arcadia Center in East Africa, I needed to develop a course on the growing African film industry. A friend from Nigeria recommended Akpor as a knowledgeable film producer who could assist. Akpor turned out to be much more. He was a movie producer, a scholar in African film, and an excellent teacher. He designed several courses around African film and came to Arusha to spend four months teaching our students. During his time in Arusha, each student produced footage on their own on a topic of their choice. Akpor himself produced a video on the programme and traveled with the students. In addition, he built an African Film Festival as part of his course to bring stakeholders in the field to our centre.

The students could not get any better exposure to the field. That was the birth of the “Arusha African Film Festival” which led to Akpor building a stakeholders network in the region with partnerships in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zanzibar, for what I am aware of. And here is the testimony of the East African network also published on the web page of the network in Zanzibar. In 2014 and 2015, Akpor brought the African films to our campus in Glenside, with two lectures and film screenings.

It is a loss for the African film industry, for us, and for his family. But it is comforting to see that he has a legacy which we will carry, and his life is far from being lost. I am immensely grateful for having met him and having engaged with him on this route. Rest in Peace, Akpor.