The Power Stone Plays On

The Power Stone, a documentary film by O90's founder Kelly Kowalski and co-director Andrew Botelle, plays tonight at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel, Switzerland. The documentary spans a hundred years of the history of the Kwanyama Kingdom of northern Namibia and southern Angola by following the journey of the kingdom's prized possession, its "power stone", which functions much like the flag of a nation yet with mystical invocations. When the last king of the Kwanyama was killed in battle, the stone mysteriously disappeared. It wasn't until the end of apartheid when the Kwanyama would see their stone again, delivered from the President of Finland. The film was produced in 1999 and was featured at the Zanzibar Film Festival in 2000. However, twelve years later it won the Audience Award at the Afrykamera Film Festival much to the surprise of festival organizers given that the film was over a decade old. 

This photo is of a young Kwanyama woman partaking in the marriage ritual efundula. Back in the day, when young women became of marrying age, they graduated in a group for a mass wedding celebration. As part of the this ritual, the group would paint their bodies white like ghosts and have three months of freedom to roam the countryside. During this time, they were considered invincible and villagers feared the new brides. They were allowed to stay in any house, demand food, and anything else they so desired to say or do. 

Rent or buy the film here: