Bolivian kids do “justice” to history with short film of indigenous uprising
By Gabriel Romano
El Alto, Bolivia, Apr 17 (EFE).- A team of Bolivian children is seeking to “do justice” to history with a short audiovisual production titled “Tantachawi,” which deals with the indigenous uprising led by Tupac Katari and his wife Bartolina Sisa in the late 18th century.
“The ‘tantachawi’ is a meeting, a meeting of the Aymara people” and starting with that encounter the audiovisual piece unveils the historic indigenous rebellion in the Bolivian altiplano against Spanish colonialism, Gerardo Llusco, one of the leaders of the project, told EFE.
This communicator has been heading the “Club Complices” (Accomplices Club) for more than a decade in the city of El Alto, adjacent to La Paz, which is characterized by being one of the South American cities with the largest native Aymara population.
The audiovisual short film, a little more than seven minutes long, was made with the group’s own resources and with the cooperation of the parents of the kids’ club, along with help from local cultural managers and dedicated artists who gave their time to the project.
“We want to bring justice for certain personages in history” and whose lives “are not written much about” or taught about in state-run or private educational institutions, Llusco said.
“Tantachawi” evokes the process whereby the indigenous chief Julian Apaza, known as Tupac Katari, organized – with the support of his wife Sisa – an uprising in 1781 with an army of thousands of indigenous people, who besieged La Paz for several months, provoking a colonial counteroffensive and, ultimately, leading to the execution of both leaders.
The work of these children – their ages ranging from 8 to 14 – on the project is a new stage in their process of learning about communications issues and showing them that they can contribute to the “development” of their own abilities, Llusco said.
Twelve years ago, the Club Complices was launched via radio to provide a forum for asking questions about the environment, values and the struggle against family violence, with the aim – and result – of giving kids a “voice” in society, he said.
Llusco emphasized that it is important for children to be able to “speak about” their feelings and emotions and for adults to know that they are also concerned about “important things” and that getting involved in activities like this strengthens their abilities and knowledge.
“I’ve learned many things, I lost my fear (of others) and I know how to do interviews of different people,” Luz Camila Copa, 13, who plays Bartolina Sisa in “Tantachawi,” told EFE.
Meanwhile, Yawar Inti Callizaya, also 13, said that what was the most difficult for him in his own acting process was to “let go” and thus better express certain extreme emotions.
This club of kids has also opened itself up to those who are not regular members via workshops on communications and acting training.
In “Tantachawi,” Bolivian actress Susana Condori, who participated in the television series “La Reina del Sur III” (The Queen of the South) along with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo and worked with Argentine filmmaker Celestino Campusano, has been the one who has provided the acting basics for the group.
Condori said that transmitting the love of acting to young children requires “a lot of patience and tolerance” to manage their distractions and create enough motivation to develop that ability.
“The secret is to have patience, to make yourself understood, to make yourself loved (by the kids). Not to shout, always (to behave) with patience,” the actress said.
“Professor Susana trained us” in the techniques to be able to show “how we died, how we struggled, how we beat the Spaniard(s) and that was the hardest part,” nine-year-old Qhapac Amaru Callizaya, one of the members of the group, told EFE.