With all the tragedies dominating the headlines lately, it is nice to see a movie focused on joy and improvement. Imba Means Sing is just the sort of inspirational, uplifting documentary we need for the holidays. It showcases three talented children as they journey through America as part of the African Children’s Choir, which was actually born out of war, in an effort to raise money for their education and their families when they return home.
First up is Moses, a ten-year-old who wants to be a pilot when he grows up. We are introduced to Moses before he meets with his new choir, “Choir 39”. The movie gives us a glimpse of his home life, both visually and through his discussions with the camera. Next up is ten-year-old Nina, who wants to be a children’s doctor. We meet Nina early in the rehearsal process and later get a glimpse of her home life. She briefly talks about her family and their financial difficulties; like having to give up school funds in order to eat. The final of the main three children presented in the film is Angel, an outgoing young lady who wants to become president when she grows up. We do also get a brief introduction to the rest of the choir when they each give their name and live goal.
As they travel through the country, we are treated to some beautiful, breathtaking scenery; sunsets/sunrises, open plains, canyons, Times Square, etc. We also get to know the children a bit and possibly see some cultural differences; like when Angel talks about using a toothbrush for the first time or when Nina talks about learning to spell her own name. It is a joy to see the children expanding their horizons and looking at our country through eyes that don’t take it for granted.
To complement their lives and travel experience, we get to see their musical abilities through various performances, including singing the American National Anthem at a baseball game. And all so they can return home after earning financial support to get an education and a better life; which we do get to see signs of when they return home. Something that they talk about a lot, but don’t really delve into is their country’s educational system, which I am a little curious about after watching this film. I took my public education for granted and I’m curious why and how much they have to pay for schooling.
With a runtime of just under 75 minutes, Imba Means Sing is well worth your time and, like it did with me, may leave you wanting more.