The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.


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Director/Directrice, Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema | Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma


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08 January 2022

The sister-friend genre, women buddy films and some "chick flicks" by African women

The sister-friend genre, women buddy films and some "chick flicks" by African women by Beti Ellerson
Notes to continue...
"For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered." Audre Lorde
In the documentary Les gracieuses by Fatima Sissani, six friends: Myriam, Sihem, Khadija, Kenza, Rokia and Leïla, who have known each other since childhood, continue to live in the same housing estate where they grew up in the greater Paris region.  "They have never left each other. A closely-bonded relationship. They talk about, joyfully and head-on, this almost amorous friendship and also about identity, class relations, spatial and social relegation...I saw them grow up and push the limits of solidarity further and further. They have always been there for each other, in difficult times, and also during the key events of their lives. And that feeling--amorous and collective--moves me a lot."
These real-life friends, "the gracious ones", reflect the many women-friendship stories related in the films by African women.
In women's buddy films, friendships between women and support among the women protagonists are the driving force of the narrative. Such as Rumbi Katedza's Playing Warriors, Tiana Rafidy's Lorety sy Mardy, Aldewolem by Yetnayet Bahru or Aya de Yopougon, an animation film by Marguerite Abouet. In her first film Laan (Girlfriends), Lula Ali Ismail relates the experiences of Souad, Oubah et Ayane, three childhood friends who live in the capital, Djibouti. Similarly, in Dhalinyaro, the friendship between three girls is the center of the story. Deka, Asma and Hibo, three 18 year-olds are about to take the baccalaureate exam. Their lives, though from different socio-economic backgrounds, are intertwined. Their strong friendship carries them together through their transition into adulthood. Similarly, in the animation film project Tibet Girls by Bruktawit Tigabu, "three African adolescent super heroines take the audience on a fun, imaginative and educational journey as they thrive to understand the changes that are happening to them and the struggles girls face everyday."

The “sister-friends genre” which focuses on a cohort of women uniting under a variety of themes plays a role in the construction of the Foxy Five Web Series from South Africa: Womxn We, Blaq Beauty, Unity Bond, Femme Fatale, and Prolly Plebs. The series creator, Jabu Nadia Newman describes Foxy Five as a example of the web series as Radical Feminist Practice, exploring what intersectional feminism would look like on screen. In Apolline Traoré's Frontiers, four women travelers forge friendships resulting from the challenges and trepidations during their journey together.
The emergence of a “sex and the city” genre in African women’s filmmaking is a sign of the times where women get together and talk about themselves and relationships, "where women talk about their own bodies rather than being talked about." An African version of "Sex in the City": "chick flicks" featuring friends in their pursuit of love and romance, is a dominant theme in Nicole Amarteifio's An African City. After their return to Ghana, Nana Yaa, Sade, Ngozi, Makena and Zainab confide in each other about life and love.

Selection of articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog about sister-friend movies, women buddy films and "chick flicks" by African women

Dhalinyaro by/de Lula Ali Ismail (Djibouti)

The Foxy Five Web Series. Created and Directed by Jabu Nadia Newman (South Africa)

Tibeb Girls, an animation project by Bruktawit Tigabu (Ethiopia)

Frontières by Apolline Traoré : “Four women tackling African integration”

An African City directed by Nicole Amarteifio

Aya de Yopougon, an animation film by Marguerite Abouet

Lula Ali Ismaïl: Laan | Les Copines | Girlfriends
Rumbi Katedza : Playing Warriors 

Tiana Rafidy: Lorety sy Mardy

A Conversation with Yetnayet Bahru

07 January 2022

Christiane Kouraogo: Le Retour, une fable initiatique très Western | The Return, a rite of passage tale, very Western - critique by/par Ansoumana Dasylva (

Christiane Kouraogo: Le Retour, une fable initiatique très Western
The Return, a rite of passage tale, very Western
Critique by/par Ansoumana Dasylva

Isabelle Christiane Kouraogo
Le Retour (The Return)
Côte d'Ivoire - 17min - fiction

Critique by/par Ansoumana Dasylva
Source: (publ. 06 jan 2022)
Translated from French by Beti Ellerson, an African Women in Cinema Blog collaboration with
Version originale en français: (

Salimata, a Senegalese woman studying in Morocco, decides to return to her country to see her mother who is in critical condition. What does this perilous journey, upon which she embarks with little means, have in store for her?

Passionate about cinema and digital technology since her childhood, Isabelle Kouraogo, from Côte d'Ivoire, pursued directing. After starting her career in television, and wanting to devote herself to cinema, she studied at the École Supérieure des Arts Visuels de Marrakech (ESAV). 
This is perhaps what inspired her film Le Retour, where we find a young Senegalese woman who hitchhikes from Morocco to cross the Mauritanian border to be with her mother who is ill. During this return to her country, a journey upon which she embarks with no financial resources, she confronts the fear of unknown drivers, starting with Rachid who gives her a ride in his van, initiates a conversation and begins to make ambiguous proposals. On a winding and deserted road, a sort of rodeo of feelings, both wary and sad, emerge within Salimata.

She has courage and determination. But between the skeleton pendant which hangs in the truck and the revolver spotted in the glove compartment, there is a feeling of death that threatens her. Isabelle Kouraogo draws on the codes of both the western and Hitchcockian suspense to orchestrate the confrontation between the two protagonists, who for the most part remain in the closed environment of the driver's cabin, up until a tense altercation. It is then that a decisive reversal occurs which makes Le Retour a rite of passage tale right to the end, which is also very western. 

Tense, poignant, fascinating and very sober, the film keeps us in suspense, providing us with a subtle reversal that highlights the contribution of Black cultures in a society that is losing its moral values.

01 January 2022

2022 Polyglot

Bonne année

Ezi Afọ Ọhụrụ

Feliz año

Frohes neues Jahr

Gore Idzva Inofara

Happy New Year

Mwaka Mpya Mpya

Ọdun Titun Ọdun

Sabuwar Shekara

Unyaka Omusha Ojabulisayo

Unyaka oNwabileyo


26 December 2021

African Women in Cinema: Perspectives from Scandinavia - Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

African Women in Cinema: Perspectives from Scandinavia - Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

I enjoyed having two homes in different countries [Sweden and Burkina Faso], and it helped me to get a greater understanding and perspective of different cultures and values.--Theresa Traoré Dahlberg

That issues around identity, positionality and social location permeate film screenings and debates of the Scandinavian African Diaspora is indicative of its growing interest in focusing on African representations drawing from global Africa. Hence offering venues in which topics regarding the experiences of people of African descent may be raised, debated and understood. Swedish-Burkinabé Theresa Traoré Dahlberg, born to a mother from Sweden and a father from Burkina Faso reflects this diversity and desire to show realistic images of Africa in her filmmaking: Taxi Sisters about women drivers from Senegal, and Ouaga Girls, about women auto mechanics in Burkina Faso.

The Stockholm-based Cinema Africa Film Festival, created in 1998, provides a platform and forum for African films in Sweden. The 2015 edition was dedicated to African women in film, featuring film screenings and a panel discussion with African women directors.

Similarly, in 2015, the Danish Centre for Gender, Equality and Diversity organized "Stories Untold" a project that involved twelve women from Jordan, Oman, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon, in order to tell their stories through film.

FilmAfrikana, an independent Oslo-based film festival founded by Norwegian-Ghanaian Lamisi Gurah, had as its objective to expose the Norwegian public to films by people of Africa and the African Diaspora. While it is no longer active--though the Nordic Black Theatre continues to thrive--its goal was to provide a different perspective regarding the African continent. The 2011 edition, featured women of Africa and the Diaspora in front of and behind the camera.

Finland has been a partner of Zambia screen culture since the 1990s, since then there has been a flurry of African-film focused initiatives. Pioneer filmmaker and activist Musola Cathrine Kaseketi received support from Finnish sponsors to attend the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg, where she graduated with honors, including the award for Best Student of the Year in 2000. Her relationship with Finland continued with the creation of Vilole Image Productions in 2002, which was supported by the Embassy of Finland through the Fund for Local Cooperation.

In 2010 Seya Kitenge Fundafunda attended a film internship program in Helsinki, which showed a particular interesting in training young Zambians interested in filmmaking. Similarly, Jessie Chisi enrolled in the training program. In addition she connected with the Finnish film association, Euphoria Boralise, doing several projects.

Wanjiku wa Ngugi, a resident in Finland at the time, founded the Helsinki African Film Festival in 2010. She felt that even though perceptions of Finland give the impression of conservatism, to the contrary, she sees that there is much more openness within Finnish society, which was also evident by the fact that the festival initiative was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hence, Wanjiku used the Festival to create an opportunity to see a different view of Africa. Her objective for founding the festival: "to show the diversity of this continent, and begin a different conversation, one informed by a more realistic view as told by the Africans themselves."

The 2011 edition focused its theme on "Women's Voices and Visions"." Wanjiku had this to say about the theme for that year: "We wanted to not only celebrate women in film but also raise awareness about the African women’s experience, highlight the global economic and political issues that affect them. We also wanted to showcase the diversity of African women, as well as hopefully move away from the tendency to depict African women as weak, voiceless and always as victims."
Report by Beti Ellerson

A selection of articles about African women and Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) on the African Women in Cinema Blog
Stories Untold: We all have lives. We all have stories. We all have phones

Theresa Traore Dahlberg

24 December 2021

Music, Song and Dance in the Films of African Women

Music, Song and Dance
in the Films of African Women
by Beti Ellerson
Notes to be continued...
“Haunting” is how Safi Faye describes the voice of Yandé Codou Sène, as it reverberates throughout the film, Mossane with recurrent chants, performing as the non-diegetic storyteller, setting the dramatic tone of the fate of the protagonist, the beautiful Mossane.

Yandé Codou Sène (1932-2010), the griot of poet-president Leopold Sédar Senghor, lauded his praises as she accompanied him on his official and social visits. The griot continues to hold an important place in African traditions. Safi Faye’s incorporation of Yandé Codou Sène’s voice highlights the manner in which the griotic chant within oral storytelling has functioned as a site of intergenerational transfer of cultural knowledge and the transmission of everyday political and social discourse. It is also the voice of conscience, asking questions about Mossane’s well being, about the ramifications of the choices that others are making about her life; its role is to interpellate and question the social order. It is all the more compelling that Yandé Codou Sène is not seen. Hence, her enthralling voice is an integral part of the narrative: introducing Mossane, the Serer legend, and the wandering beggar boy, joining in the ancestral ceremony; lamenting Mossane’s suffering, eulogizing her death and posing questions regarding the village’s fate.

Angèle Diabang's Yandé Codou, the Griotte of Senghor and Yandé Codou Sène, diva séeréer by Laurence Gavron, recount the life of this mythical figure, the only one who could interrupt Leopold Sedar Senghor’s speech with a song of praise.

Similarly, in the documentary Calypso Rose, Pascale Obolo's relates the world of this diva from Trinidad, "who has dedicated her whole life to music, to her art. In Nadja Harek's Tata Milouda, the slammeuses from Algeria flees her old life--abusive and violent-- and becomes a slam star in France. "Thanks to writing and slam, she reclaimed her freedom".

Afrikaners Rina Jooste, who worked as a freelance musician and for theatre productions tells stories using drama / music to portray social messages. Similarly, Rama Thiaw who was influenced by hip hop and the social movement brought about by the Senegalese activist hip hop group Positive Black Soul (aka PBS), reflects this activsm in her work. Her documentary, The Revolution won’t be televised, which shows her direct influence by Gil Scott Heron, the godfather of social and political hip hop activism, incorporates the elements of hip hop as a conceptual framework and symbol for change.

For Dyana Gaye, the musical comedy Un transport en commun | St. Louis Blues was a way to combine her myriad ideas from dance and music, using cinema to bring them all together. Similarly, Armande Lo, who has always been passionate about music, art and cinema directed the short fiction film Betty Jazz, about a woman who dreams of being a jazz singer. Caroline Kamya's Imani used music as the essential ingredient of the film, blending popular contemporary local language acoustic and hiphop, with traditional African rhythms beats: "The use of music that is an integral part of life in Africa and in the Diaspora take centre stage in my film." Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nyaminyami Amaji Abulozi (Nyaminyami and the Evil Eggs) is a musical adaptation of ancient Tonga folklore.
A selection of articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog about music, song and dance in the films of African Women

Caroline Kamya's Imani

Nyaminyami Amaji Abulozi (Nyaminyami and the Evil Eggs), a film by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Armande Lo: Betty Jazz

On a le temps pour nous by/de Katy Lena Ndiaye (Sénégal)

Abeti Masiniki by/de Laura Kutika and Ne Kunda Nlaba

Dyana Gaye: Un transport en commun/St. Louis Blues

Rina Jooste : Visualising South African History Across the Divide

Rahma Benhamou El Madani: “I try to reconnect with my roots through my films.”

Iman Kamel talks about her beloved home Egypt, storytelling through cinema and her film project Jeanne d'Arc Masriya

Un air de Kora de/by Angèle Diabang (Sénégal)

Aïssata Ouarma - Félicia Kouakou Abossi Abenan - Sara Mikayil

Ghanaian-American Rebekah Frimpong launches an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the documentary film project "Adowa"

British-Nigerian Remi Vaughan-Richards talks about “Faaji Agba”

Rama Thiaw talks about the “Making of” The Revolution will not be Televised
Malibala, women sing in solidarity with Mali, an initiative of Fatou Kandé Senghor

In Memory of Yandé Codou Sène (1932-2010)

A look at women in Senegalese hip-hop | Regards féminins sur le hip-hop sénégalais – Analysis by/analyse par Fatou Sall

Tata Milouda by/de Nadja Harek (Algeria | Algérie / France)
“Living Legends”, Akosua-Asamoabea Ampofo, USA

Naabiga, le prince by/de Zalissa Zoungrana (Burkina Faso)

Pascale Obolo : "Calypso Rose the lioness of the jungle"

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign for film on Ethiopian Nun Composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou
Rumba in the Jungle, the return by Yolanda Keabatswe Mogatusi (South Africa)

23 December 2021

African Women's Cinematic Love Stories and Other Matters of the Heart

African Women's Cinematic Love Stories and Other Matters of the Heart
To talk about love in Rwanda is to be able to tell stories that people hold dear, that are poetic and funny while at the same time posing a fundamental question: How do we love each other after a genocide?--Jacqueline Kalimunda

Mahen Bonetti, founder and director of the New York African Film Festival had this to say about love stories from Africa: “When thinking of Africa," she says, "the definition of love is vague or absent. The word love is always overshadowed by crisis—AIDS, drought, warfare. So when thinking of the continent of Africa, one does not think of the word love in relation to the emotions and tension that accompanies the concept."

Hence African women's cinematic love stories relate the myriad sentiments on the continuum of expressions of the heart:  the taboo, desire, obsession, forbidden love, longing, passion, jealousy, revenge, courtship, first love, sexualities.

A selection of articles about cinematic loves stories and other matters of the heart on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

Holy Fatma: Please Love me Forever

Leyla Bouzid: A Tale of Love and Desire

Désirée Kahikopo: The White Line

Before the Vows by Nicole Amarteifio

Dorcas Gloria Ahouan-Gonou : Le fruit defendu | The Forbidden Fruit

Rafiki by/de Wanuri Kahiu : Cannes 2018 - Un Certain Regard (Kenya)

Zin’naariya ! | The Wedding Ring | L’Alliance d’or by/de Rahmatou Keïta (Niger)

Jacqueline Kalimunda : Love in Rwanda | De l'amour au Rwanda

Single Rwandan / Celib Rwandais by/de Jacqueline Kalimunda analyse/analysis by/par Viviane Azarian

Nijla Mu’min’s Jinn, A Film About Identity, Islam and First Love

When Alice Diop takes us "towards masculine tenderness"

Hermon Hailay: Price of Love | Le Prix d’amour

Experiments with love: young South African women filmmakers

Difficult Love by Zanele Muholi

Constance Ejuma, producer-filmmaker-actor, discusses Ben & Ara

Marie Kâ : L’Autre Femme | The Other Woman (Senegal)

Report by Beti Ellerson

22 December 2021

African Women, Screen Culture, Heterotopian Spaces, Otherworlds: Afrofuturistic, dystopia, fantasy, supernatural, science fiction, mythology

African Women, Screen Culture, Heterotopian Spaces, Otherworlds: Afrofuturistic, dystopia, fantasy, supernatural, science fiction, mythology

A selection of articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog related to African Women, Screen Culture and Heterotopian Spaces, Otherworlds: afrofuturistic journeys, dystopian spaces, phantastamorgia, supernatural beings, mythological encounters, science fictional worlds.

Holy Fatma: Fatale Orientale (Blooming Dalia)

Holy Fatma: Please Love Me Forever

Souad Douibi: M9awda

Super Sema. An Afro-futuristic animation series: Time to Change the World

Eden Tinto Collins, Gystere Peskine: WOMXN

Kantarama Gahigiri: Tanzanite

Malenga Mulendema: Mama K’s Team 4, animated series (Zambia)

Nikyatu Jusu: Suicide by Sunlight, a horror film

Cyrielle Raingou : Challenge (Cameroon | Cameroun)

Nnedi Okorafor's award-winning novel "Who Fears Death" to be adapted for TV series

Tibeb Girls, an animation project by Bruktawit Tigabu (Ethiopia)

Siam Marley: Normalium (Cote d’Ivoire)

Jabu Nadia Newman: The Foxy Five Web Series (South Africa)

Beti Ellerson: African Women of the Screen at the Digital Turn | Écrans d’Afrique au féminin au tournant numérique

France Bodomo: Afronauts (Ghana)

Wanuri Kahiu: Afrofuturism and the African

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