Documentary Screening: In Aiye’s Garden, Processing Enset in the Gamo Highlands, Friday 15th October 2021, 2.30 PM
DOCUMENTARY / DOCUMENTAIRE
In Aiye’s Garden, Processing Enset in the Gamo Highlands
directed by Eyob Defersha (2019)
Friday 15th October 2021, 2.30 PM @ CFEE
For the inauguration of a weekly screening cycle of ethnographic and archaeological documentaries in CFEE, n° 3 of the Guardians of Productive Landscapes film series will be presented.
Enset is related to and resembles the banana plant and is produced primarily for the large quantity of carbohydrate-rich food found in a false stem and an underground bulb. More than 10 million people living in the highlands of southern Ethiopia use enset for food, fibre, animal forage, construction materials, medicines and other purposes.
The Gamo highlands are composed of mountains, plateaus, hills, plains and valleys drained by many streams like Ginna, and Namie Hatsa. The subsistence economy of the area is characterized by small-scale, mixed farming, with livestock as an integral part.
Hebute Heda, addressed and referred to as “Aiye” – mother of many children – by relatives, neighbours and friends, is an eighty years old woman living in the settlement area of Zollo. As a widow, she is the head of her household. She grows barley, wheat, beans and potatoes, but most important is the enset, which she cultivates in the garden around her house.
The film aims to provide an opportunity to understand how “Aiye” – assisted by a young woman servant – grows and processes enset using only simple tools and local organic fertilizers. The film also shows how in the Gamo highlands women play a central role in enset production and in the effort to ensure food security.
The Guardians of Productive Landscapes Film Series – edited by Ivo Strecker and supported by Max Planck Institut for Social Anthropology, Germany – is a major new initiative in applied anthropology. It calls for nothing less than a reorientation of global attitudes toward subsistence agriculture and pastoralism – a view that contests the received wisdom of capitalist ‘development’ and underlines the crucial role of the traditional farmer and pastoralist in maintaining the planet’s environmental health and diversity. Its most singular feature is that it argues not from theories but from empirical observation, and it presents its findings in a form that is universally accessible (…) By concentrating its attention on the highly varied landscapes and cultures of Ethiopia, the series also creates a comprehensive study of a country exhibiting many of the climatic and geophysical conditions found throughout the world.
In Aiye’s Garden, Propagation and Processing of Enset in Gamo Highlands movie has been awarded at the Two Rivers Cross-cultural Cinema Film festival. It is accessible on the Royal Anthropological Institute catalogue: