October 20 2006
DiCaprio, Hounsou, "Blood Diamond" and SOS Children's Villages
Children from Maputo act as "extras" in Hollywood movie
15/01/2007 - 24 children from the SOS Children's Villages in Maputo got to act alongside Hollywood greats Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou in the movie "Blood Diamond", which will open across Europe in late January.
SOS Children's Villages in Mozambique is known locally for staging colourful public performances for their own entertainment as well as for the community, which includes traditional dances and other cultural activities. So when the producers of "Blood Diamond" asked the Ministry of Women and Social Services for children who could play "extras", they were directed to SOS Children's Villages.
The children were delighted to be able to spend part of their summer break travelling to the movie set in the small village of Marracuene, some 30 kilometres from Maputo. "I watch movies on TV and I never thought that I myself could be in a movie! It's like a dream come true!" said eight-year-old Bonamare*.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou were both extremely touched by their interactions with the children and each took time off to visit the SOS Children's Village in Maputo. Accompanied by members of the film crew, Djimon played with the children and also presented them with various gifts, including toys and sweeties. While he walked around, it was easy to see the star's affinity with the children - there was a lot of laughter and shouting as the children and Djimon acted out a few of the scenes that they had been shooting over the past month.
Djimon and crew members also delighted the SOS mothers by dancing with them to the music of Salif Keita. "You are the Queen of Queens in Africa, my mothers. You are so important for these children," Djimon told the SOS mothers, adding: "I can't believe what I have seen here...this is fantastic for the children."
The first SOS Children's Village in Mozambique opened in 1986, after 16 years of civil war in the African country had left many children orphaned and destitute. The organisation now operates three children's villages in Mozambique, which are home to hundreds of children orphaned as a result of war, poverty, and disease; problems that have plagued the country for years.
* Name has been changed