Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s ‘Abouna’ - African Boys Need Love Too
Abouna is a modern African story in which two brothers, 15 year old Tahir and 8 year old Amine (played excellently by Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa and Hamza Moctar Aguid, respectively), wake up to find that their father has left them and their mother. Certain that their father will soon come back, they endure having to hear their mother (Zara Haroun) label him irresponsible, and their football playing friends discount him as unreliable (he is their coach, and him not turning up this time around doesn’t sit well with the team).
Their efforts to find their father lead them to find out that their mother and team mates might have had a point but they’re determined to find him, even if it means seeking him out in film (quite literally). The boys’ search lands them in trouble with the law and, at the end of her tether, their mother decides to send the two town dwelling, upper working-class boys, to a rural Koranic school where discipline is harsh and unremitting, and only serves to bolster their resolve to escape and find their father.