Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is known to most people as a popular travel destination, while some may have heard about it for the first time from the famous cartoon film. However, this multiple award winning documentary film is telling us another story, one that has to do with the real life of the Malagasy people.
Since its independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has suffered frequent political turmoil, including unconstitutional changes of government almost every decade. Since 1980 the country had to accept measures and policies imposed by the IMF and the World Bank, that had no significant results in terms of improving the standards of the people’s lives.
In 2009, fed up with increased poverty and widespread corruption, Madagascar’s citizens took to the streets in protest. It was once again, that the protest would be faced with gunfire against unarmed citizens, this time resulting to more than 170 deaths. After the president was forced to resign, the international community terminated most foreign assistance to this chronically impoverished island nation. Over 60% of the country’s revenues were immediately wiped out, resulting in the dramatic curtailment of education, health care, sanitation and access to food.
Despite new elections and the resumption of aid after 2014, the Malagasy political leaders continue to create conflict and uncertainty and the Malagasy people continue to struggle to survive. Madagascar now has a population of almost 30 million people. Half of them are children. Half of the children are chronically malnourished.
Madagasikara offers us a look at an island we don’t know, past the serene beaches and the lovable, profitably animated wildlife, into the perilous lives of three strong, tireless mothers working to create better futures for their children.
Directed by Cam Cowan, the film has won more than 30 awards in film festivals around the world.
Welcome to the real Madagascar.