Burkina Faso''s first textile factory was named Faso Fani, or "national loincloth" in the local language. It was set up in 1965, just after independence, in Koudougou, the place where I was born, to process the cotton crop that is one of our country's main agricultural resources.
In its heyday, Faso Fani was the pride of the city, one of the most important factories in the country before it went into decline. Faso Fani finally closed in 2001 under a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) imposed on Burkina Faso by the Bretton Woods Institutions. This policy of profound economic reforms was planned by international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF for the sub-Saharan African states, in the context of economic globalization.
In African states where previously, since independence, the fundamental social and economic sectors such as health, education, water and key industries had been managed within the public sector, a vacuum quickly developed, entirely to the benefit of an unregulated private sector. The consequences for the population have been and will be incalculable.
In Koudougou, hundreds of workers were laid off without any kind of social safety net. The city bore the brunt of this unfathomable closure and has struggled to recover ever since. A decade after the social and economic catastrophe, I set out to meet some of the workers who were involved, to investigate this factory which loomed so large in my childhood, and to explore this city which, today, is no more than a shadow of its former self.
by Michel K. Zongo (Burkina Faso)
France · Color · 90'
Koudougou was long regarded as the textile capital of Burkina Faso. And with good reason, since it was the home of the Faso Fani factory, whose name means "national loincloth". Burkinabè people used to say that "Faso Fani calls the shots".
Then the factory was shut down. Desolation followed in the wake of the closure, a direct result of globalization.
Today, by visiting Koudoudou and making these micro-portraits of former Faso Fani employees, to whom I am personally very close, the film will gradually show the connection between the choice of world economic model imposed on my country and the grim realities of life endured by the hundreds of workers who lost their jobs.
Directing: Michel K. Zongo
Les films de l'oeil (Canada)
2012 | Locarno FilmFest
* Open Doors Lab
* Grant Open Doors for development (10.000 CHF)
* Premio ARTE Open Doors (6.000 Euros)