"Tey," An Epic African Film On Life and Death

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For the African, death like life, is a journey.

Death is simply an extension of life. Ideally, many of us in the western world have been socialized to view death as the "end" of life not "an extension" of life.

For this particular reason, we fear death. We also fear death due to its uncertainty despite the fact that death is a certain part of life. Nowhere is this particular idealism of death better conveyed than in the Senegalese film Tey (Today) which is directed and written by Alain Gomis.

Tey is an exciting and powerful African story about the material and ideal adventures of the life and death of a young man named Satché. In this journey, Satché, along with his family and entire village, is uniquely engaged between two worlds: materialism and idealism; mortal and immortal.

However, for Satché and his community, the two worlds are actually one – thus, inseparable and complementary.

In Tey, matter along with idealism is represented in the physical realm. The metaphysical realm, as the here and now, is in unison with the physical realm.  For this reason, the mortal and immortal are units of the collective communal consciousness and unconsciousness of a people, where having children and establishing a family along with the collective remembrance and utterance of one’s name and deeds ensure the immortality of, not only the individual, but the entire community.

The role of  Satché is played magnificently by the multi-talented and illustrious actor, poet, author, and musician, Saul Williams. Saul as Satché, according to the theory of knowledge, moves with trepidation and prudence as he travels beyond the limits of his cognitive content: experience and the unknowable – thus, moving above and independent of the material world as he encounters the immaterial universe. In Tey, Satché culminates a transcendent import in his journey from life to death – from chaos to peace.

With its philosophical premise, Tey has become a globally acclaimed film, winning over two dozen prestige awards, including: the Del Orimio CittaVenezia Award at the Venice Film Festival; the Seattle International Emerging Masters Award for best director; and the Golden Stallion at FESPACO for best film and best actor. The latter award is a first for Senegal and an African-American actor.

Tey, which is released by BelleMoon Productions, makes its U.S. theatrical debut this Sunday on October 6 at MIST Harlem. 

I highly recommend Tey, especially if one wants to acquire a better understanding of not only death, but life.


Professor Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy,” Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Prof. Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College. He also served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University.




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