Safari Gear: It’s Optional

African countries rarely make the list for top ten tourist destinations or happiest places to live. But Africa does top one satisfying list, and that’s Cinema Paradiso’s most popular event for its free “Around the World in 80 Nights” series. It dedicates three days to “The African Experience.” Here are some cultural highlights:

At 8 p.m. Friday: The film Skin tells the journey of a South African black female raised by white African parents who were unaware that they had any black origin. They raised her lovingly as their “white little girl” — but she was driven out of white society when she was 10. The film covers 30 years of her life — until she finds acceptance. 10 p.m.: Africa Unite screens. It’s a Bob Marley tribute concert film — expect 50 minutes of Bob Marley’s family covering songs from “I Shot the Sheriff” to “Is This Love.”

On Saturday and Sunday, about 15 short-to-long films will screen. Among those worth noting is Saturday’s 5:45 p.m. showing of Sex, Okra and Salted Butter, a comedy tackling issues such as love affairs, secret love lives, and single parenthood in Chad. Also: Testamento, which screens at 8:50 p.m. Saturday, is about an illegitimate daughter who inherits her father’s estate, where she obsessively learns about her father and all his secret loves through his taped memoirs.

Admission to this event is free at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). African cuisine will be available for purchase on Friday; 20 vendors will sell food throughout the day on Saturday; no food will be sold on Sunday. Call 954-525-3456, or visit
Fri., March 12, 8 p.m., 2010

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Mickie Centrone