True Films

Wonders of the African World


Most reports about Africa emphasize one of two well-worn themes: a) Africa’s awesome natural environment, or b) its titillating variety of tribal life. This 6-hour video series illuminates a third, refreshing, little-seen dimension: African civilizations. Harvard professor Skip Gates narrates his very personal investigations into the overlooked black civilizations that blossomed on the African continent. Sometimes Gates is a little too full of himself, but other times his intensely idiosyncratic road show works perfectly in conveying the magic of ancient civilizations few Westerns are aware of. This video series is oddly better than any book about this overlooked subject — perhaps because the film succeeds in reflecting the tremendous oral and visual nature of these cultures. I had my mind changed.

Wonders of the African World
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
1999, 6 hours
$39, DVD

Official website

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted July 24, 2003 at 3:05 pm