Le Damier – Papa national oyé! (The Draughtsmen Clash ) (Congo: 1996)


Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda

Cast list

  • Producer: Centrale Productions Dipanda Yo ! Cenaci Myriapodus Films
  • Screenplay: Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda
  • Starring: Dieudonné Kabongo Yves, Mba Pascal N'Zonzi Jean, LaCroix Kamba Djibril, and Nguemongwa
  • Music: So Kalmer
  • Cinematography: Roland Duboze
  • Edited: Victor Howcq
  • Running Time: 40 min
  • Genre: Drama



  • Fespaco (Uagadugú) 1997
  • Festival de Villeurbanne 1997
  • Reel Black Talent Award (Toronto) 1997
  • Festival Francófono de Namur 1998
  • National Black Programming Award (Filadelfia) 1998


The Draughtsmen Clash is a wicked political satire about African dictators. It tells the story of the president of a fictitious African nation who spends a sleepless night playing checkers with a pot-smoking vagabond who claims to be the all-round champion. However, the rules of the game entail the opponents howling vulgar and foul obscenities at one another. The champion proceeds to insult, and trounce, the President. His reward, and his fate, will not surprise anyone (2).


An interesting comment from a New York Times article about the movie: “A political satire about a thinly disguised Mobutu Sese Seko. The President-For-Life of some unnamed African nation orders a champion checker player, pot-smoking rebel, to his palace for a game. ~ Baseline Studio Systems” (1).

Works Cited

  1. “The Draughtsman Clash (1996).” The New York Times. The New York Times,  2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.
  2. “The Draughtsmen Clash.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.