African Moot takes its viewers to different countries in the continent, introducing us to its many subjects. These subjects are all law students participating in a moot or mock trial. And to participate they must examine the case involving a fictional group crossing fictional African borders to escape oppression. These students eventually travel to the University of Botswana. The camera captures young African excellence nervously walking across clean, fluorescent halls. These halls become the place where they argue real interfaith and interethnic quandaries as they do the fake one. The documentary also has archive footage that it juxtaposes with details of the moot case. Not to be a nerd, but the real definition of moot comes from meet. Specifically, to meet and argue about things that matter. There are no fictional Africans risking their lives. But as young Africans they feel the history and precarity that these characters feel.
African Moot does fall in a ground where it feels like it focuses on too many subjects. But then introduces subjects within the French and Portuguese contingent of the meet. This makes me wish for more screen time for them. In other words, its approach will bring ambivalent nitpicks. Nonetheless, viewers feel the pun within the word moot and the implications of that pun. African Moot progresses and it reveals which teams advance to argue for either side of the case. It also shows which teams fall behind and attend seminars and debates. The seminars discuss, obviously, the implications of their moot case. A participant, an Egyptian, discusses how a day off reminds him of the freedom of movement. A freedom Africans of both sides of the Sahara still have limited rights to. The documentary is an interesting window in the minds of a young, gifted generation.
Find out how to watch African Moot as part of this year’s Hot Docs Fest.