CTFF '19: March of the Mokos
By Nina Kalirai
March of the Mokos was released in 2017 and is a short documentary style film directed by Kim Johnson. The film address how Glen “Dragon” DeSouza has encouraged children to take part in the art of moko jumbies (stilt walking), instead of getting involved in the street life that is present in the neighbourhood.
Dragon explains the history of the moko jumbiesand how they were derived from the Igbo people of Nigeria who were enslaved in Trinidad & Tobago. Dragon decided to come up with the Keylemanjahro cultural group, to teach children about the art of moko jumbies and have them participate in mas every year.
Throughout the documentary we are shown beautiful variations of moko jumbiesin costume, and even a competition where the most elaborate moko jumbiescompete for the title of carnival king and queen.
Moko jumbiesare known to also bless and remove evil spirits. Dr. Laura Barbata, who is New York based, but works with Dragon to create moko jumbie costumes, even organized a moko jumbie walk back in 2011 on Wall Street.
Dragon’s Keylemanjahro cultural group has attracted children, adults and even students from all over the world to participate in this beautiful art form and appreciate the significance of moko jumbies.
The film was both entertaining and informative, with music that played at times to compliment the audience watching longer than usual scenes of children on stilts, in order to showcase the amount of talent moko jumbiestakes.
The filming of March of the Mokos was also done very well, because it wasn’t just filmed in Trinidad, but also New York showing how the art form of moko jumbies played a significant role across the world as well.
March of the Mokos is a film I would recommend to anyone who thought stilt walking was just something people did for fun. The ability of March of the Mokos to inform the audience thoroughly of the history and significance of moko jumbies was something you don’t always get from documentaries, let alone short documentaries.
*Editor’s note: March of The Mokos was screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival ‘19