Limba dancer by fire among trees

2024 | Documentary Short | 15 MIN. | Limba, Krio

Ma ŋaye ka Masaala a se ka Wɔmɛti

(From God To Man)

Lansana Mansaray

On the day that Lansana Mansaray was born, a tree was planted in his name in his father’s Limba village. Now an Emmy and Peabody nominated filmmaker, Mansaray returns to the same village to better understand the essential relationship that Limbas share with the trees that define every aspect of community life.

As the smooth highways of Freetown give way to vermillion dirt roads, the car becomes just one means of transport; there’s the scent of chuk chuk plums, a memory of the Matorma sound (a singular rhythm associated with sacred Limba rituals), as well as jokes and poignant moments of connection arising from Mansaray’s diligent efforts to speak Limba. For a “city Limba man” like Mansaray, returning to his deceased father’s homeland becomes a journey of Indigenous reclamation.

Amidst celebratory, humorous, and quotidian moments of village life, Mansaray interweaves reflections from a community that has endured more than its share of hardship — colonization, a civil war, and growing threats to the forests that the Limbas treasure. As with pouring out a little palm wine for the ancestors, Ma ŋaye ka Masaala a se ka Wɔmɛti is an offering to those who came before and to those who are still here. But as Mansaray playfully lets the viewer know, some things should not be shared with the rest of the world.