Cadastral: The Black Girl Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 2021

Tjawangwa Dema / UK / 5 mins / English / Rating U / World Premiere

Sorry, this online screening is not available in your country.
Cadastral: The Black Girl Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


*Please note, this film is available to view in the UK region only. If you would like to watch all 3 poetry film commissions in the Imaginarium strands together, click here*

Both meandering and direct, intimate and plural, 
Cadastral: The Black Girl Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy maps geographies where historical memory is dynamically entangled with contemporary experiences of walking while black. The sensorial sites of this poetry are many – a somewhat benignly neglectful guide moves us from frame to frame offering up a range of images. The site is not singular because the incidents evoked are not anomalous. Imagining all space outside the black body as outer space – and therefore at best familiar or hostile at worst – Cadastral’s landscapes connote the everydayness of black people in nature.

The poetry-film’s visual language of black and white, blends moving and photographic imagery, sourced from both personal and public archives, alongside poetic language to create a feeling of both looking at and being looked at, as well as looking with (others). Thinking through the environments of access and belonging, ‘they’ becomes ‘we’ becomes ‘I’, and folds together multiple poetic vignettes into an entanglement that is part manifesto, part enquiry; part examination and part expressionCadastral was edited by Obii Ifejika.

About the Director

Tjawangwa Dema is the author of The Careless Seamstress, winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize. Her chapbook Mandible was published as part of the African Poetry Book Fund’s New Generation Poets box set series. TJ is an alumna of the HarperCollins Author Academy, an honorary fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and sits on multiple poetry festival/institute boards.

She holds an MA in Creative Writing and has given readings and facilitated workshops in over twenty countries. Tjawangwa has worked collaboratively with poets, scholars, dancers, theatre and filmmakers. Her poetry and essays on poetic pedagogies have been featured or are forthcoming in various publications, most recently New Daughters of Africa, Botswana Women Write and the PMLA. She is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol and co-produces the Africa Writes – Bristol festival. Tjawangwa’s chapbook, an/other pastoral, exploring the environment and ethnicity and is forthcoming from No Bindings in 2022.

Obii Ifejika's experience with poetry, film and design influence the creative direction of her projects.

She has been awarded a Canne Young Lion Award for her work in Design, won the first National Poetry Slam and has performed widely across Nigeria as well as Germany. She also is a recurring cast member of the poetry theatre production, Finding Home. Her one-woman show, Swallow was commissioned by British Council to be performed at Lagos Theatre Festival.

Obii has worked with private persons and institutions to visually interpret stories and produce film projects. Her photography has been published in News Deeply and Welt-Sichten Magazin.

Past Showings

Friday 15th October 2021 / 7:30pm for 17 days / Online

Included In

Cadastral: The Black Girl Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is screening as part of:

You May Also Like

Special book discount!

The Careless Seamstress by Tjawangwa Dema with a foreword by Kwame Dawes. From the African Poetry Book Series. 

Use the code AiM30 to redeem a 30% discount on Tjawangwa Dema's award-winning poetry collection The Careless Seamstress. This code is redeemable through this link (click here), until 30th November 2021. 

This dazzling debut announces a not-so-new voice: that of the spoken-word poet Tjawangwa Dema. Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Dema’s collection, The Careless Seamstress, evokes the national and the subjective while reemphasizing that what is personal is always political.

The girls and women in these poems are not mere objects; they speak, labor, and gaze back, with difficulty and consequence. The tropes are familiar, but in their animation they question and move in unexpected ways. The female body—as a daughter, wife, worker, cultural mutineer—moves continually across this collection, fetching water, harvesting corn, raising children, sewing, migrating, and spurning designations.

Sewing is rendered subversive, the unsayable is weft into speech and those who are perhaps invisible in life reclaim their voice and leave evidence of their selves. As a consequence the body is rarely posed—it bleeds and scars; it ages; it resists and warns. The female gaze and subsequent voices suggest a different value system that grapples with the gendering of both physical and emotional labor, often through what is done, even and especially when this goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

A body of work that examines the nature of power and resistance, The Careless Seamstress shows both startling clarity of purpose and capaciousness of theme. Using gender and labor as their point of departure, these poems are indebted to Dema’s relationship to language, intertextuality, and narrative. It is both assured and inquiring, a quietly complex skein that takes advantage of poetry’s capacity for the polyphonic.