‘Emmanuel’s Gift’


In July 2002, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah biked 600 kilometers across Ghana—an achievement for anyone, but especially so for a man born with only one functional leg. Of course, cameras weren’t rolling for the trip—which garnered Emmanuel a degree of international renown—so this hagiographic, after-the-fact documentary flounders for other angles. Emmanuel gets a prosthetic limb in the U.S. and competes in a triathlon. In interviews reminiscent of last summer’s
Murderball, people like Jim MacLaren (described as “the Babe Ruth of amputee athletes” and survivor of not one but two life-altering accidents) testify to his tenacity. Emmanuel then returns to Ghana, where he’s greeted as a hero and reunited with his deadbeat father, and proceeds to campaign for the disabled, an astounding 10 percent of the country’s population traditionally treated as second-class citizens. This feel-good profile barely touches on the political and cultural ramifications of Emmanuel’s work. Narration by Oprah increases the aura of a civics lesson.