Africa United is a 2010 film directed by first-time UK film director Deborah 'Debs' Gardner-Paterson and starring Emmanuel Jal, Eriya Ndayambaje, Roger Nsengiyumva, Sanyu Joanita Kintu, Sherrie Silver and Yves Dusenge.
The story begins in Rwanda where young football know-it-all Dudu Kayenzi is teaching a group of children how to make a football (you need an inflated condom, a carrier bag and a piece of string). Teenager Fabrice longs to pursue his ambition of becoming an association football legend and is seen breaking the local record for the most continuous football kick-ups. When Fabrice is offered the chance to audition for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa, he sets off for Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, with his 'manager' Dudu and Dudu's sister Beatrice. Dudu is a victim of HIV/AIDS but he does not express this to anyone but his sister. Beatrice wishes to become a doctor and find a cure for AIDS in memory of Dudu. Fabrice tries to express his love of football to his mother, but she simply replies "Africa doesen't need dreams, it needs to wake up".
Fabrice plucks up the courage to sneak out of home early and masquerade as a woman's child with Dudu and Beatrice the following day, in order to get to Kigali. However, they take the wrong bus and on arrival at the end of the bus route, when they look for the auditions stadium, a man states they are in Congo and that the stadium is 1000 miles away in Kinshasa.
Ending up in a refuge camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they meet George Foreman, an ex-child soldier, who agrees to help them escape the camp. Dudu decides that the group will walk the rest of the way to South Africa (almost 3000 miles away) so that Fabrice can play for the "Dream Team" at the World Cup opening ceremony. They leave during the night in a jeep, but George's fellow soldiers catch up with them the following day. They flee the jeep just before it explodes in front of the soldiers. They end up in a dilapidated railway carriage which Beatrice assumes is a "hotel", on account of the shabby living conditions that she and her brother are used to. Dudu discovers that George has a bag full of money that he has stolen from the general of his ex-army.
They find a leopard-like black animal in the train and so make off for the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where they hire a boat to get to Tanzania on the other side. Fabrice's mother texts and calls him on his mobile (cell) phone, but he finally has enough and throws the phone into the middle of the lake. Eventually they arrive on the other side of the lake at a whitewhased villa, where Celeste, a sex slave, is working for the white owner by selling beverages. She catches the four children and insists they go back, but George flashes his bag of money for bribery and so the owner lets them stay and play in the pool and be waited on. Fabrice has time to play with Dudu's "organic footballs" (they are made of inflated condoms from the UN, wrapped in a bag and tied with string; throughout the film, Dudu narrates a fictional quest for the three ingredients for making one of these footballs). As George falls asleep, the owner steals his bag of money and throws them out of the villa; however, they soon retrieve the bag and the money and take Celeste with them.
Using Dudu's business-like tactical skills, they end up in the hull of a ship full of mangoes, bound for Zambia, where they will continue the journey. Celeste reveals she ran away from her tribal village to avoid an arranged marriage, and Fabrice sees George throw away his gun, which he used to shoot his fellow soldiers earlier on.
The team runs out of money, so Dudu insists they can earn some by giving blood at a local medical centre. Everyone passes the blood test except for Dudu, who is HIV-positive, although he does not reveal this to the others. After crossing the border into Zimbabwe, Dudu exchanges the Zambian kwacha for Zimbabwean dollars, but Celeste explains the currency is defunct and that he has been scammed. He tries to collect the money after it spills into the water, and the Zambezi river carries it to the precipice of Victoria Falls.
During the night, Dudu develops a cough and in the morning he is rushed to a local hospital. There is a school attached to the hospital, and a school teacher Leleti Khumalo notices Beatrice's intelligence and offers her a place at the school to study for free. The doctor soon explains that, although the medical team have been able to stabilise Dudu's tuberculosis, he has a low CD4 T-cell count (i.e. he is HIV-positive) and needs medication that is out of stock and won't be available for another three days. However, Dudu decides to persevere on the journey and to continues with Fabrice, George and Celeste towards the stadium: Beatrice decides to stay behind at the school to have an education and so try to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor.
The team arrive at Beitbridge on the Zimbabwe–South Africa border, where an official insists that they are nothing but refugeees. The security guards take Dudu's ball but again the team works together to retrieve it and continue to Soccer City in Johannesburg for the Cup. Dudu falls ill again and is rushed to the medical facility at the stadium, where he completes his fictional story by saying Fabrice carries the ball God gave to the people of Africa. Except for Dudu, the team carry the ball off into the now roaring crowd.
At the end, Dudu is seen walking off into a light, suggesting that he has died of HIV–AIDS.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Eriya Ndayambaje ... Dudu
Roger Nsengiyumva ... Fabrice
Sanyu Joanita Kintu ... Beatrice
Yves Dusenge ... Foreman George
Sherrie Silver ... Celeste
Emmanuel Jal ... Tulu
Presley Chweneyagae ... Egg
Rapulana Seiphemo ... Philippe Baku
Patrick Mofokeng ... Police Sargeant Sam
Richard Lukunku ... Jean Baptiste
Moky Mukura ... Fabrice's Mother
Leleti Khumalo ... Sister Ndebele
Tony Caprari ... Beach Bar Owner
Keketso Semoko ... Hospital Doctor
Ayuub Kasasa Mago ... Congo Stadium Lone Spectator
Directed by Deborah 'Debs' Gardner-Paterson
Produced by Mark Blaney
Written by Rhidian Brook