Malikia Wa Soka Zanzibar – Zanzibar Soccer Queens:
Their Passion for Soccer is Passion for Life
Filmmaker and Reader of Film Practice at the University of Wales-Newport, Florence Ayisi met the “Women Fighters” during a research trip to Zanzibar in 2005. She was especially struck by their enthusiasm, talent, and perseverance. She has this to say about the film:
Zanzibar Soccer Queens is a documentary that presents fresh insights into other lived experiences and realities in Africa, particularly women’s experiences. The stories of the players of Women Fighters present a complex and diverse perspective of untold African Herstories: visions of hope; self-determination; empowerment; solidarity; aspirations and personal identity. These women cross the boundaries of how a woman should be in their society. They are undertaking extraordinary steps to define and determine their ambitions and fate. I was attracted to their courage and efforts to achieve personal goals beyond the cramped borders of gender lines, traditional and cultural expectations that prescribe of how women should dress or behave. (Director’s Statement on Website).
The power behind women’s soccer on the island is its dynamic and charismatic coach, Nassra Juma Mohammed, the first female coach in Zanzibar. In addition to skill building in the sport, she also stresses the importance of women’s development. "What is important to me is that if the players get education they will be able to be employed to get jobs such as secretaries, cashiers , so they can take care of their own lives."
The film offers a fascinating insight into women and sport in this majority Muslim population, especially as it relates to culturally defined roles for women and their bodies.
The Zanzibar Soccer Queens Website provides a wealth of information about the individual "Women Fighters", the background and interest of filmmaker Florence Ayisi, a gallery of photographs, contact information, and a delightful trailer of the film.
Zanzibar Soccer Queens Website