Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 12:07 UK

Niger mourns film and radio star

Jean Rouch and Damoure Zika [ Picture by Philo Bregstein, Documentary Educational Resources -]
Jean Rouch and Damoure Zika in 1977, (Pic: Philo Bregstein/

A funeral service is to be held in Niger for Damoure Zika, a star of French documentary cinema.

He died on Monday aged 85, leaving behind four wives, 35 children and 80 grandchildren, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Zika featured in many of the 150 films made by the French director and anthropologist Jean Rouch.

The son of a fisherman, Mr Zika was also a traditional healer and radio personality, hosting a popular show on state radio.

He also ran a traditional African medicine clinic in the capital, Niamey.

Mr Rouch, considered father of the "cinema verite" style of documentary in France, met Mr Zika in 1949.

He taught him to read and write.

He was not only a film star, he had a big following as a broadcaster who cared about health issues
BBC's Idy Baraou

Mr Zika featured in his 1950 film Battle of the Great River about hippopotamus hunters.

Mr Zika and Mr Rouch, along with other friends, documented the changing nature of Africa in a time when colonial power was ending.

They filmed ritual ceremonies and the lives of people across Francophone Africa, and also made films about how Africans influenced French life.

The BBC's Idy Baraou in Niamey says Mr Zika was a enormously well respected man in Niger.

"He was not only a film star, he had a big following as a broadcaster who cared about health issues."

"He was seen as someone who was a jack of all trades."

Mr Rouch died in 2004 in a car accident in Niger.

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Father of 'cinema verite' dies
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