African Women in Cinema have long used film as a means to raise consciousness about diverse issues related to their communities and the continent as a whole.
Fanta Nacro (Burkina Faso) has been at the forefront in this regard, utilizing cinema to confront the AIDS crisis in Africa, producing documentary films such as, En parler ça aide (2002); Vivre positivement (2003), Never Alone, A Call to Action, No Time to Drop Your Guard, and an impressive collection of films produced for Scenarios from Africa/Scenarios d'Afrique (2003-2004): A Call to Action, A Love Story, A Ring on Her Finger, The Champion, Iron Will, Peace of Mind, Never Alone, The Reasons for a Smile, Tiger Tigress. In the same Scenarios from Africa series, Looking for a Brave Man by Kidi Bebey (Cameroon) explores relationships in the age of AIDS. A young woman seeking a serious relationship, insists that her partner act responsibly and be willing to take the AIDS test. Le Truc de Konate (Konate's Thing), 1998), a humorous short fiction film by Nacro was very popular with the audiences in Burkina Faso. The film blends traditional skepticism of new ideas, masculine virility and honor, and emerging female consciousness.
On a more somber note Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga's Everyone's Child (1995) deals with the daunting consequences for the children who are left to fend for themselves when their parents die from the devastating affects of AIDS. Similiarly, one of the themes in Musola Cathrine Kaseketi's film Suwi recounts the tender story of the young Bupe, who in the end finds a happy home. Tumaini by Beatrix Mugishagwe (Tanzania) is also a tale of hope.
Kenyan Wajuhi Kamau, who works in the Film Production Department of the Educational Media Service of the Minister of Education, emphasizes the effectiveness of video as a means of educating people about issues from AIDS to family planning. Using both the documentary and drama presentations, the objective of the Educational Media Service is to take the results to the people who then see themselves reflected in the images, "when you see yourself, you see your situation, then it is easy to remember and change attitudes and behavior." Zimbabwean Prudence Uriri focuses on issues related to AIDS and health in general. Madizela and Samora (2003) commissioned by UNESCO and Life (2002), produced by Rooftop Promotions were two AIDS-focused films made by Uriri. In her role as filmmaker, she sees the importance of opening a dialogue about the problems that people face so that they may be better informed of the situation.
Looking for a Brave Man by Kidi Bebey
Everyone's Child by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Suwi by Musola Cathrine Kaseketi
A Love Story by Fanta Nacro
Link to other films by Fanta Nacro in the Scenario for Africa Series
Some parts of this text were published in the 30 November 2009 post: A Call to Action: UN Themes and African Women in Cinema.