In the 2000s, Burkina Faso’s government issued several mining concessions to multinational companies and so began the mining boom or “gold rush”. The first industrial open-pit gold mine was built in June 2006 in Kalsaka by the English company Kalsaka Mining SA to extract 18 tons in 10 years. But “the gold did not glitter for Kalsaka”, because in 2013, after six years exploitation, the mine closed its doors, leaving behind an incalculable legacy of social and environmental disasters.
The banality of the exploitation, a health and environmental disaster, a problem of international governance and a director who asks awkward questions… In order to enter into the complexity and alert the world, unconventional measures to perturb viewers were required… Far-West music, galloping horses and three riders – these are the predators pillaging the gold! It’s a way of representing them since they disappeared after promising wealth for Kalsaka. The voice of the director, a town crier, comments on the result of unbridled capitalism. The verdict is damning, but we can react to attack and dethrone those who continue to do whatever they please. This type of investigative documentary is becoming increasingly common in Africa. Emblematic of this new approach, “No Gold For Kalsaka” goes beyond journalism to find tools for mobilisation through film-making.
Film critic and editor for Africultures
Michel K. Zongo
Born on 11th June 1974 in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, Michel K. Zongo is a director, producer and camera operator. He trained in film shooting at Burkina Faso’s Centre National de la Cinématographie, followed by a camera operator traineeship at the Télévision Nationale du Burkina Faso and another as first assistant camera operator at the Cinédoc Films production company in France.
After several jobs as director of photography and assistant director for various films, he wrote and directed his first documentary, “Sibi, l’âme du violon”. This was followed by “Espoir Voyage”, “La Sirène de Faso Fani” and “Pas d'or pour Kasalka”. After training as a producer at Cinedoc in France in 2010, he became co-manager of the Diam production company based in Burkina Faso.
Michel K. Zongo is the artistic director of the KoudougouDoc festival, and author of a dozen feature-length and short documentaries.