From Cardiff to Los Angeles through a documentary

(IN)VISIBLE CITIES - Social and urban inclusion of African migrants

An internationally produced multimedia project by Beatrice Ngalula Kabutakapua and Gianpaolo Bucci

Residents of Butetown, Cardiff have appeared in a screening in Los Angeles as part of an internationally produced documentary exploring the lives and tales of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Focused on the Somali and Sudanese community living towards the Bay, the first episode of the series was shot last March. The episode touches themes close to the community such as: race, migration, integration, social inclusion.

The first Somali to arrive to Butetown landed in the 1890s, so it reveals the documentary based on the researches of Professor Glenn Jordan of Glamorgan University. Working on ships, they remained in Wales and created what will soon be recognized as the biggest and oldest Somali community in the UK.

Hassan Panero is one of the Somali interviewed for the project. He summed up Butetown culture saying: “Butetown is like a gem, where everyone knows everyone.” Hassan is also one of the poets who collaborated with producer Gavin Porter to complete “De Gabay,” a live theatrical show on Somali culture, supported by National Theatre Wales.

In 2011 Cardiff University graduate student Beatrice Kabutakapua started researching the history of Africans in Cardiff, Oslo, Brussels and Istanbul. In late 2012 she teamed up with Italian filmmaker Gianpaolo Bucci to create a series of 12 documentaries, 12 articles, a long feature and a website. The multimedia project takes the name of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES.

After shooting in Cardiff the two were invited to take part to an artist residency at the prestigious 18th St Arts Center in Los Angeles, where they will screen the Butetown episode to locals before working on the second episode.

Commenting on her decision to start this project Beatrice said: “On the one hand I have always been curious about African culture, which is also my culture as I was born Italian from Congolese parents.

“On the other hand, I wanted to create a database for media to use to cover African migrants issues. But also I’d love to change the stereotypical idea many have about migrants.”

“I was deeply touched when a man from Zimbabwe told me ‘thanks for doing this,’” said Gianpaolo. He added: “This kind of statement makes me more committed on what I’m doing because through the filmmaking practice I can contribute to spread a culture of diversity.”

The Cardiff episode of (IN)VISIBLE CITIES will be screened at the 18th Street Arts Center on May 19. Other screenings are planned around the Californian city throughout June.

To follow the updates of the project you can visit the Facebook page at:


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Date: 23/05/2013


United Kingdom



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