Airdate: Our African Roots

New SBS doco reveals how Australians of African descent have helped shape our history since the First Fleet.

New SBS documentary Our African Roots will screen as part of the Australia Uncovered series.

Presented by filmmaker and journalist Santilla Chingaipe, the documentary reveals how Australians of African descent have helped shape Australia’s history for more than 200 years – from the First Fleet.

Presenter and producer, Santilla Chingaipe said, “For me, the mission is personal. If Australia continues to erase the stories of people of colour, does it mean the contributions of contemporary African Australians like me are also in danger of being dismissed or forgotten? It’s time we started telling the truth about the history of colonised Australia. These aren’t African-Australian stories; these are Australian stories – and we should know the names of these men and women.”

Chemical Media Producer and Director Tony Jackson said, “When a highly respected journalist who is knowledgeable about their subject brings you a story that leaves your jaw on the floor, you know it’s too good an opportunity to miss. It’s been a privilege to work with Santilla to tell such a cracking story. I hope that Our African Roots becomes a staple in our schools and challenges us to think about which tales we choose to tell ourselves as a nation and which ones we leave out.”

By writing people of African descent back into Australia’s story, Our African Roots rips up the monocultural myth of Australia’s white foundation narratives and colours in our nation’s history books – revealing modern Australia’s origin story to be a complex, multicultural and multiracial affair.

The documentary will be available to stream on SBS On Demand with subtitles in five languages: Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, allowing more Australians to engage with this important topic. The Australia Uncovered strand will also be available with audio description for blind or vision-impaired audiences.

Our African Roots is produced by award-winning production company Chemical Media for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with support from Film Victoria. In partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation.

8:30pm Sunday 17 October on SBS.

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