Brief Tender Light: Graduation, 2023

Brief Tender Light: Graduation, 2023
Courtesy Arthur Musah

Image still from the documentary Brief Tender Light (2023), directed by Arthur Musah. Left to right: Sante Nyambo, Fidelis Chimombe, Billy Ndengeyingoma, and Philip Abel Adama, shown walking on campus in caps and gowns, MIT Student Center, 2015.

Brief Tender Light (2023), a documentary by Ukrainian-born Ghanaian filmmaker Arthur Musah '04, MNG '05 (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science), tells the story of four African MIT undergraduates on their journeys to becoming engineers: Sante Nyambo '15 (Civil Engineering/Tanzania), Fidelis Chimombe '15 (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science/Zimbabwe), Billy Ndengeyingoma '15, MCP '17 (Civil Engineering and Urban Studies & Planning/Rwanda), and Philip Abel Adama '15 (Computer Science & Engineering/Nigeria).

While under production in 2012, Musah told Slice of MIT"Observing how these teenagers transform into adults within the MIT context will provide some insight into a modern Africa, whose inventive and ambitious youth are not satisfied to rely on others to determine their countries’ and their continent’s destinies." 

Film Synopsis

A Ghanaian filmmaker follows four African undergraduates through MIT, America’s premier technological university and his alma mater. The students embark on their MIT education with individual ambitions –  to engineer infrastructure in Tanzania; to secure a better life for family in Nigeria; to contribute to post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda; to advance democracy in Zimbabwe. Their missions are distinct, but fueled by a common goal: to become agents of positive change back home.

While their dreams are anchored in the societies they have left, their daily realities are defined by America – by the immediate challenges in their MIT classrooms, and by the larger social issues confronting the world beyond those classrooms. Their new environment demands they adapt. Over an intimate, decade-long journey spanning two continents, students and filmmaker alike are forced to decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.

One Day I Too Go Fly

Timeline: 2020s
School: School of Architecture and PlanningSchool of Engineering
Department: Civil and Environmental EngineeringElectrical Engineering and Computer ScienceUrban Studies and Planning
Life: African Students' Association (ASA)
Career: Arts & HumanitiesCommunityEducationEngineering
Object: Image
Collection: Africa(n), Commencement, Rising Voices 1995-Present, Students