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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20 July 2020

Kis Keya : Creator of Extranostro, the First Afro-Queer Francophone Web Series | Créatrice d’Extranostro, première websérie afro-queer francophone - Interview by/par Laurent Maurice Lafontant (

Kis Keya : Creator of Extranostro, the First Afro-Queer Francophone Web Series | Créatrice d’Extranostro, première websérie afro-queer francophone - Interview by/par Laurent Maurice Lafontant (

Source: 8 July/juillet 2020

In English:
My primary motivation was to act on the homophobia that is rampant in many African and, more broadly speaking, black families. I wanted young (and not so young) people who faced rejection, who feel all alone in the world, and who wonder whether they’re “normal” or not to realize that there are other people ou there just like them. As a matter of fact, that is the reason I chose to do a web series. I wanted Extranostroto be streamed online and be accessible all over the world which is not always possible on TV networks that may have geographical restrictions.

En français :
Ma toute première motivation était d’agir par rapport à l’homophobie qui sévit dans une grande partie des familles africaines et noires de façon plus générale. Je voulais que des jeunes (et moins jeunes) qui sont rejeté·es ou qui sont quelque part dans le monde, seul·es, à se demander s’ils, elles, illes sont « normaux » réalisent que d’autres personnes leur ressemblent. C’est la raison, d’ailleurs, pour laquelle j’ai opté pour une websérie. Je voulais qu’elle puisse être diffusée sur internet et accessible partout dans le monde. Ce qui n’est pas toujours possible sur les chaînes de télévision qui peuvent avoir des restrictions géographiques.

19 July 2020

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) - Stakeholders Report 2019: Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstream women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe
Stakeholders Report 2019

Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstream women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities

This report summarises the findings of the project by Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) on Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstreaming women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities.


The methodologies adopted for this analysis included surveys and interviews. Films that involve violence against women and girls were sought and screened in different communities, followed by discussions. The films were used as tools to gather information in the communities’s understanding of VAWG as well as to raise awareness on issues and impacts of VAWG. A monitoring and evaluation exercise that measures changes before and after the screenings was also
carried out.


The purpose of the report is to share information gathered from communities engaged to prevent and obtain feedback on how WFOZ methodologies can be used in the future.


13 July 2020

Matamba Kombila: Mundele n: blanche, étrangère - white, foreigner

Matamba Kombila, of French-Gabonese parentage, explores the evolving complexities of her multiple identities and the cultural, geographical tensions of these positionalities. Her short experimental film Mundele n: blanche, étrangère, contextualizes the conversation.

An interview with Matamba Kombila by Beti Ellerson, July 2020.

Matamba, talk a bit about yourself, your evolution into filmmaking.

I had reached a glass ceiling in the fashion industry where I was working as events producer for high-end brands. I had understood I’d never get to the positions my degrees could have led me to because I wasn’t Caucasian. I needed to move on to a field where I would have a sense of community and professional fulfillment after years of feeling used, shortchanged and often alienated. I therefore decided to follow my heart and my innate passion for the moving image and storytelling, and to become a filmmaker. I had actually been teaching myself screenwriting and directing while I was in fashion, and had started developing screenplays. My first experience in film was on the set of Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us, in the production design department. I was always drawn to stories revolving around social justice, so working on a film about the story of the wife of a slain Black Panther leader felt like an omen and confirmed I was on the right path. I started shooting a few years later, after I took amazing intensive workshops at Ela Thier’s Independent Film School. I literally used my cellphone for my few first films. I couldn’t wait to own a camera to start creating, or, for someone who had one, to be available to do it with me. It gave me a good sense of composition and movement in the frame. I realize that editing myself or assisting the editor for all the films I have made since then have allowed me to hone my screenwriting skills. Likewise, producing and managing the production of fellow filmmakers’ shorts or features makes me build capacity while being part of the creative process, which is priceless. I am now working at improving my technical knowledge to understand how to best match the story’s intention and mood with the visual. It's a never-ending, fascinating, growing process.

You film is titled, Mundele n: blanche, étrangère, English subtitled as white, foreigner. What does this title mean?

Mundele literally means white, foreigner in the Lingala language, which is spoken in DRC and Congo, where it was shot. I found through my travels that in many African streets, when you stand out from the crowd, people call out to you. In Congo where I shot the film, I was Mundele. And in many African countries, I am called white, foreigner.

For a short film with a duration of just under 10 minutes, there is a great deal that the spectator must extrapolate. Is that your intention?

It is constructed as avenues of reflection on themes that revolve around the make up of my identity. I don’t want to state anything. I simply want to highlight situations or events that may bring answers to the questioning around it.

You ask questions to your entourage, which appear to be in fact existential, and not really in search of a probing response. On the other hand there are a host of questions that the film provokes. Perhaps I will start with my own questions: what was your objective for making the film? 

The intention of the initial project was to unpack some aspects of my complicated relationship with my mother and show her my love. My objective for making the film was to draw a parallel between what’s commonly called France-Afrique and myself, the offspring of a French woman and a Gabonese man. I wanted to explore the juxtaposition of the complicated relationship between the colonizer and its outposts on the continent and my identity, the mix of the cultures and histories of the colonizer and the colonized.

The film starts with you at the hairdresser’s salon surrounded by a circle of young African women as they each take part in coiffing your hair. A metaphor, a signifier, perhaps of your identity, as it is transformed into a Gabonese hairstyle. What role does hair play for you and why this choice in constructing the film? 

The film was made during a Documentary Filmmaking Workshop for Women at the French Institute of Pointe Noire. The idea of the salon came from the instructor, Rufin Mbou Mikima, who came up with it when we started discussing the story. Interestingly, I had thought about using hair as a vector of identity but wasn’t sure how. My hair is my antenna, my connector to the universe and the cosmic forces. It is also a shield that protects me against the cold and the heat, balancing out my body temperature. At last, it is an element of style that allows me to tell stories about myself and my ancestors; an “identifier”. Therefore getting my hair done is something very intimate that often leads to insightful conversations, so the salon was a perfect setting to broach the theme of my identity. After we collected all of the images, we came up with the structure of the mirror for the film. Its first part, shot in the salon, is the front of the mirror, what I see and am perceived by others; its second part, my walk in the streets of Pointe Noire, is what’s behind it, what I perceive as my identity’s founding elements.

There have been a flurry of films by mixed-raced women especially of African-European origin, who probe the question of color, of identity, of belonging. To name a few: Ngozi Onwurah: The Body Beautiful. Sarah Bouyain: Les Enfants du blanc (Children of the White Man) and Notre Etrangère (The Place in Between). Claude Haffner: Blanche ici, noire la-bàs (Footprints of My Other). In the latter two, echoes of your film title is evident. There is also the film, Métis (Mixed-race), co-directed by Maëlle Cherpion, Charlotte Manguette and Mélissa Quinet, the latter who is the grand-daughter of one of the two protagonists of the documentary. In addition, Irish-Kenyan Zélie Asava, who is also mixed-race, published her research in the book titled Mixed Race Cinemas, Multiracial Dynamics in America and France. There have even been several films also about mixed-raced girls/women by African women who are not, I am thinking of Sous la clarité de la lune (Under the Moonlight) by Apolline Traoré and Au phantom du père (The Ghost of the Father) by Laurentine Bayala, for example. There is also Isabelle Boni-Claverie, whose grandmother was a white Frenchwoman, who dealt with the subject in her short film, Pour la nuit. Perhaps I could ask you, do you have some thoughts about why this topic may be a specific quest for women?

I am finding out now that there are so many films on the topic. I saw a few of that your mentioned, but didn’t know of all of them. I’ll research and watch. I am curious to see how my fellow lady filmmakers have treated the topic. I will not use the word race because it doesn’t exist within the human realm.

Now back to your question. For me, even knowing quite a bit about genetics, it still is fascinating to know that I come out of the belly of a woman and look nothing like her. It was complicated to construct my identity growing up when I was on one end not allowed to identify to her, and on the other end told that I was only her. Indeed in the West I was always perceived as African or mixed, when in Africa I was perceived as Caucasian. Ultimately, maybe women ponder over the topic because we give life and we are the origin of all these multicultural babies that often find themselves at odds with their environment. The truth is we are the fruit of the love of two individuals of different cultures, the living proof that the divisive concept of race is a hoax. We make a lot of people feel uncomfortable because of their preconceptions and prejudice built-in by 500 years of history. I feel like its onto women to undo this. I am glad to see that several of us talk about our experience being mixed African-European because our testimonies carry elements of solutions to the problems of “racism” and its children, Caucasian supremacy and ongoing colonialism. We are after all the natural link between the opposite sides.

What has been the feedback to the film in African countries where it has been screened?

At the screenings I attended, there was no feedback so I explained the film to the audience. Then some audience members commented that my point of view made them understand aspects of the mixed African-European identity they had never thought about. It gave them insights not only on the personality of some of their mixed friends or relatives, but also on their own makeup, being the descendants of people who used to call Europeans their ancestors. I was asked a few times why the hairdressers don’t answer my questions. In fact they do. But we had sound issues so it turns out to be some sort of monologue with the effect that you describe earlier.

In your experiences, what are the similarities and differences to mixed race-identity in Africa compared to the West?

In my experience, the only similarity to mixed identity in Africa compared to the West is the ever-present unconscious stigma, consequence of the racialization of humans by the Catholic Church to justify the objectification of Africans in order to serve Western capitalism, with the complicity of African traders.

The differences are undeniable. In the African countries I have visited, I was either perceived as a national (Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia), or as a white/foreigner but in the end always accepted for who I am and integrated. Interestingly, my mixed culture may be perceived as an asset because it may allow navigating a multifaceted African world with ease, to the benefit of the community. South Africa is a different story, because colorism defines social class and status. In Cape Town, I didn't quite feel like a human. I was colored, confined to some margins of society. I had a similar experience in France and in the few European countries I have visited where ultimately, the majority of people were uncomfortable with who I am because I don’t quite fit in any category they are familiar with. Except for the UK where the notion of mixed culture seems assimilated. In the USA or Brazil, I am Black. I am denied my European heritage and I institutionally have a very limited space in the Caucasian world, which ironically, is nevertheless equally as mine as the African world. So ultimately, the main difference is that Africa seems to still be welcoming the other with open arms, when the West seems scared of ghosts that it has not made peace with. 

Future works?

I am currently developing my first feature film, a story of revenge in political circles in Gabon, with a female lead. The project results from two residencies, in Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

I should start editing soon the footage that I have been shooting over the past few months in Cameroon where I found myself stranded when Covid-19 hit and borders closed, and where I spent the past 5 months.

I am also just starting a documentary project with a collective of African filmmakers where the objective is truth and reconciliation with our past as accomplices in the slave trade.

11 July 2020

Iman Djionne (Coura + Oulèye) : La Fabrique 2020 - Les Cinémas du monde

Iman Djionne (Coura + Oulèye)
La Fabrique 2020 - Les Cinémas du monde
Projet de film en development
Film project in development


Bio: Iman Djionne

Iman Djionne is a Senegalese director who has written and directed short films and audiovisual content. Her last short, Boxing girl (La Boxeuse) was selected at several festivals, such as Louxor, POFF Shorts and Cologne. She is also a casting director for local and international productions such as Amin by Philippe Faucon (La Quinzaine 2018) and the Amazon series ZeroZeroZer’. She was also a member of the casting team for Atlantics (Atlantique) by Mati Diop (Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes 2019). Iman is currently working on her first feature film, Coura + Oulèye. She took part in the Realness Screenwriters’ Residency in 2019 and Berlinale Talents in 2020.

Iman Djionne est une réalisatrice sénégalaise qui a écrit et réalisé des court-métrages, ainsi que du contenu audiovisuel. Son dernier court La Boxeuse a été sélectionné dans plusieurs festivals tel que Louxor, POFF shorts ou Cologne. Elle est aussi directrice de casting pour des productions locales et internationales comme Amin de Philippe Faucon (La Quinzaine ’18), ou la série Amazon Zerozerozero. Elle a également fait partie de l’équipe casting de Atlantique de Mati Diop (Grand Prix du Jury à Cannes ’19). Iman développe actuellement son premier long Coura + Oulèye. Elle a participé à la résidence d’écriture Realness en 2019 et Berlinale Talents en 2020.

Synopsis : Coura + Oulèye

Born into a polygamous family, two young sisters get to know each other after the death of their father, on a journey across Senegal.

Coura and Oulèye, two teenage sisters whose mothers are co-spouses, are forced to travel together across Senegal, as they search for their father’s testament. But their search takes an unexpected turn when they meet Ngoné, a young woman with a shady past.

Issues d’une famille polygame, deux jeunes soeurs se découvrent après la mort de leur père lors d’un périple à travers le Sénégal.

Coura et Oulèye, deux sœurs adolescentes dont les mères sont co-épouses, sont contraintes de voyager ensemble à travers le Sénégal à la recherche du testament de leur père décédé. Mais leur quête prendra une tournure inattendue lorsqu’elles rencontrent Ngoné, une jeune femme au passé trouble.

Note d'intention - Statement of Intent

Coura + Oulèye is a story about women, where three generations clash, help each other and evolve together. I wanted to explore what it means to be a woman in our African societies today. What is the right balance between tradition and modernity? How can we stay true to ourselves in a society where the group is prioritized? The starting point for this film was the desire to explore the relationship between two young sisters born into a polygamous marriage. Polygamy, which is common in Senegal, has often been addressed from the women’s perspective, but rarely from the perspective of children with different mothers and their relationships. Fraternity is a strong yet complicated bond, so I wanted to follow these sisters’ journey in that sense. This journey, which will bring them far from the pressure of their family and the society, enables them to question their identity and their role in their community.


Coura + Oulèye est une histoire de femmes où trois générations s’affrontent, s’entraident et avancent ensemble. Je cherche ainsi à explorer la place de la femme aujourd’hui dans nos sociétés africaines. Quelle position adopter entre tradition et modernité, mais surtout comment être soi-même dans une société où le groupe prime ? Le point de départ de ce film était un désir de sonder la relation entre deux jeunes soeurs issues d’un mariage polygame. La polygamie, assez répandue au Sénégal, a souvent été traitée du point de vue des femmes mais rarement de la perspective des enfants, de mères différentes, et de leurs relations. La fraternité est un lien fort mais complexe, je voulais donc suivre le parcours de ces sœurs dans ce contexte. Ce voyage leur permettra de questionner leur identité et leur place dans leur communauté, loin de la pression de leur famille et de la société. 

02 July 2020

African Women in the time of COVID-19 : 10 selected films announced

African Women in the Time of COVID-19 : 10 selected films announced

The ten selected films, in alphabetical order, are:

Being: Malak El Araby (Egypt)
Blunder: Fezeka Shandu (South Africa)
Face Mask for Sale: Neha Manoj Shah (Kenya)
I’ll Call You Later: Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)
Loop: Every End Has a Beginning: Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)
Love, Zawadi: Wambui Gathee (Kenya)
Moyo: Hellen Samina Ochieng (Kenya)
My Sunshine: Chioma Divine Favour Mathias (Nigeria) 
The Tempest: Skinnor Davillah Agello (Kenya)
Worlds Apart: Yehoda Hammond (Ghana)

The Ladima Foundation, in partnership with DW Akademie, announces the ten selected films in the African Women in the Time of Covid-19 Short Film Competition.

These films will PREMIERE via a live stream on July 10th 2020 and then be available for viewing on various platforms from July 11th.

The short film competition invited African women to share their stories about the personal, economic, and social impact of Covid-19 in Africa. The brave and powerful films that were submitted sadly have reflected the extremely difficult circumstances that many African women are facing.  The stories have shown how in too many cases that the pandemic has indeed impacted women harder and in different ways than on their male counterparts.

An overwhelming response saw just under 200 women from 18 African countries sharing their moving and honest stories on a diversity of topics with dominant themes of domestic violence, altered access to opportunities, increased burden of care, although also of resilience and hope.

The ten films will be premiered on the Ladima Foundation Facebook page at 15:00 CAT on FRIDAY JULY 10th 2020.

From July 11th films will then also be available to watch and stream on The Ladima Foundation website,, MyMoviesAfrica™️, a proudly Kenyan, mobile-first digital cinema platform, offering movies on smart devices, including phones, tablets, laptops and televisions, via the internet.

MyMoviesAfrica™️ can be accessed via on the web, and the Android App can be found here:

The films will also be broadcast on the True African channel on Premium.Free. True African is a TV channel that embodies being “the contemporary African”. The channel delivers the best series and movies from across the continent. True African introduces rising talent and presents established stars as the channel captures the spirit of Africa today – the prefect channel for these 10 short films, showcasing developing new talent across the continent.

Premium.Free is a free bouquet of channels available across Sub Saharan Africa via satellite in West Africa, East and Southern Africa as well as Francophone Africa. Broadcast schedule and details can be found on


Being: Malak El Araby (Egypt)

Malak El Araby is a 21 year old film major graduating senior at The American University in Cairo. Malak is passionate about filmmaking and photography, winning third place UIFF in South Korea and working on multiple movies in Egyptian cinema. Malak’s short films are always inspired by women empowerment, portraying their struggles and stories.

Synopsis: The film is about how everyone took everything for granted before the pandemic. How the little things in life is what matters most. How we never realize what we have until it is lost. What we miss and what we should appreciate in life after all of this is over.

Blunder: Fezeka Shandu (South Africa)

Fezeka Shandu is a 26 year old  aspiring filmmaker who grew up in the dusty streets of Umlazi, KZN South Africa. Growing up she always had a love for films and theatre. She has  always wanted  to tell stories in a simple way, but meaningfully and realistically.

Synopsis: Blunder is about a couple who planned to get married before lockdown was introduced, with all the rules and regulations everything has paused, however the girlfriend’s (Naledi) uncles decided to show up for lobola negotiations because they believe that culturally such things can’t be postponed as it will upset the ancestors.

Face Mask for Sale: Neha Manoj Shah (Kenya)

Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22 year old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at the Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first -hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls.

Synopsis: Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother, and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.

I’ll Call You Later: Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)

Aurelie Stratton is an actress, writer, director and producer who graduated from WITS Drama School and moved to the United Kingdom shortly after graduation to further her study, career and experiences. After her return, she then co-founded production company, You Kicked My Dog Productions with Emmanuel Castis and they produced the acclaimed Short Film Sides of a Horn which qualified for the 2020 Oscars.

Synopsis:  Jo and Bec are sisters and can only communicate through video calls during lockdown. Jo has not been taking Bec’s calls because she is hiding something. Lockdown has been more dangerous for Jo than Bec realises

Loop: Every End Has a Beginning: Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)

Faith Ilevbara is a visual artist, using film as her medium of expression, and is passionate about creating films for social justice, especially telling stories of social issues affecting women globally. She wants to use film to start a narrative that will bring about change and conversations surrounding those issues. Born in and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Faith’s first degree is in a medical related field, but her passion for storytelling couldn’t be held back: she graduated top in her class in Digital Film Production SAE Institute, Cape Town and currently works in Lagos, Nigeria, as a video journalist with the BBC.

Synopsis: Loop is a short film highlighting the negative effect of domestic violence on children exposed to such violence during the lock down.

Love, Zawadi: Wambui Gathee (Kenya)

Wambui Gathee is an emerging Director/ Producer rising steadily in the African film scene. She is a firm believer of artistic visual storytelling and her work voices and represents the true African narrator.

Synopsis: With the lockdown measures being enforced, vulnerable women and young girls are put in a position where the life-threatening outside is safer than their own homes and at times forced to make difficult choices.

Moyo: Hellen Samina Ochieng (Kenya)

Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22 year old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at the Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first -hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls.

Synopsis: Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother, and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.

My Sunshine: Chioma Divine Favour Mathias (Nigeria)
Chioma Divine Favour Mathias is a writer, cinematographer/filmmaker, and actor. She is  graduate of statistics and the last of four kids.

Synopsis: This short story is about the struggle of a single mother with a disabled child, trying to fend for herself and her baby at the same time surviving the effect of the pandemic. She did all she can to stay strong and sharp even in the face of tribulations. This story depict the true strength of an African woman.

The Tempest: Skinnor Davillah Agello (Kenya)

Skinnor Davillah Agello is a professional dancer and choreographer and a film maker based in Nairobi Kenya. Born in K’ogello Siaya country an area rich in culture and dance which played a major part in her love for dance and storytelling. She has taken part in numerous dance performances i.e. One Africa Music Fest in Dubai, Dance for Sale in Germany, “I Can Dance” finalist aired on KTN. She was nominated at the Sondeka Awards 2018 in story through dance category. Safaricom Twaweza, Chapa Dimba.

Synopsis: The Tempest is a short film about a dancer Davillah_S expressing how Covid -19 has changed her family and personal life, as well as millions of other lives across the globe. The dance performance is devised to reflect Davillah’s own personal challenges and solutions for coping with the pandemic, while encouraging those who view the piece to stay positive and safe.

Worlds Apart: Yehoda Hammond (Ghana)

Yehoda Adukwei Hammond is a 19 years and third year film directing student at the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. She is currently interning as a Second Assistant director with Esse Productions. Growing up in Ghana and Accra, she gained a keen interest in social issues occurring in her country, with a soft spot for girl child  education.

Synopsis: Rhema and Erica are Junior high school students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The differences in their economic situations have directly altered the course of their education and how they cope with the current times.


The ten selected films were chosen by a panel of expert judges including Cornélia Glele, a journalist, blogger and filmmaker from Benin, Lizelle Bisschoff, a researcher and curator of African film, and founder of the Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival in Scotland, Nse Ikpe-Etim, a multiple-award winning Nigerian actor with over a decade of active years on stage and screen, Professor Martin Mhando, a Research Fellow with Murdoch University, Western Australia and an award winning filmmaker and experienced festival director, as well as Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann  who makes both short and long films, both fiction and documentary and whose prior work includes a mélange of essayist documentary, photography and poetry, the majority of which she shot, directed, produced, and recorded sound for herself.

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