There’s a scene from the new documentary on gravediggers that will probably stay with you. It opens with a young man with cool, dark shades answering questions that someone is asking behind the camera. As the scene settles, you see that the young man’s demeanour is relaxed, his answers are cool, and you can tell that he’s fielding the interviewer’s questions like a pro. Instinctively, you understand that he’s every interviewer’s nightmare because he has a wall between him and the world.

Just at the point where you almost accept this dance as the norm, the interviewer asks him a question, and something shifts.

“What don’t you like about your job?”

It’s a simple question, yet he seems taken aback, almost as if he’s not used to being asked that question — or he’s not used to his opinion being acknowledged.

Suddenly, something shifts in the young man on the screen. Slowly but surely, before your eyes, his wall starts to crumble. 

First, he pauses. Next, he removes his glasses, which have been shielding him from the world since the interview started. Finally, he breaks into a passionate expression that’s more honest than anything he had said in preceding sentences. You watch — surprised at first, then later intrigued — as his guards fall off in less than a minute to reveal his humanity.

Directors, Kayode Idowu and Hassan Yahaya, say they set out to create a connection like this with The Gravediggers documentary. In their words, “Their primary goal was to tell a story of everyday people living as authentically as possible.”

For them, this documentary isn’t meant to be didactic, moralising, or to wring out global implications. Instead, as they explained, “Their aim is to [hopefully] magnify and probably amplify the realities of people who fly under society’s radar of  ‘important.’”

So, when they got that scene where the young man took off his glasses and connected like a human being for the first time since their interview started, they knew they had succeeded in their goal. 

“There was no facade, no high walls, just a few ordinary people connecting over the shared experience of living — which was precisely what we set out to do,” the pair revealed.  

You can watch The Gravediggers here

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