Surprising Europe, the life and times of Ssuuna Golooba

Rogier Kappers

In 2003, photojournalist Ssuuna Golooba moves from Uganda to what he believes is paradise: the Netherlands. He soon finds out that money does not grow on trees here like the mangos falling off the trees in his home country. A moving documentary about a disappointed immigrant, who wants to show his fellow-countrymen the true face of Europe.

Ssuuna Golooba does what many Africans dream about. He leaves his home, his job, his daughter, his family and friends and sets off to Europe. Once in Holland no warm welcome or abundance await him, however. Instead, he is faced with a harsh society in which he has trouble making ends meet. Golooba would prefer to go back, but lack of money – and loss of face – prevent him from doing so.
When in 2005 eleven illegal immigrants perish in the fire at Schiphol airport, the cup is full. Ssuuna wants to inform his brothers and sisters what things are really like in Europe. Together with a Dutch filmmaker, he produces a documentary film that is to be shown in the whole of Africa.
For the film’s first screening he goes back to Uganda, where he has to choose: stay or return. His daughter wants him to stay, but his mother needs more money and would rather see him return to the Netherlands.

The documentary is part of the cross-media project Surprising Europe, which further consists of a TV series and a web site,


Rogier Kappers
Country of production
Netherlands, The
70 minutes
Spoken language
Afrikaans, Dutch, English, French
Production company
World Sales