"You can make a difference" Musola Cathrine Kaseketi
Musola Cathrine Kaseketi, the first Zambian woman filmmaker, is recognized for her work in raising consciousness through cinema regarding people with disabilities. Musola, who also has a disability, founded Shungu Namutitima International Film Festival of Zambia (SHUNAFFoZ) in order to showcase, the capabilities of people and women in particular, with disabilities. Wanting to share her skills with aspiring filmmakers she established Vilole Images Production in 2002 whose aim is "to provide a platform for skills and knowledge enhancement, development and promotion of the film and television industry through training workshops throughout the year and hosting of a film festival each year that will screen products with various themes that contribute towards social change and improve livelihoods."
Having attended the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg, which incorporates the empowerment of black women in its mission, she in turn has been mentor to other women. Jessie Chisi who was trained by Musola acquired filmmaking experience while working on her film Suwi. In 2015 at the Women of the Year Awards--designed to honor some in various fields who have made a contribution in shaping Zambia--she received the Woman of the Year in Film. She had this to say about receiving the award: "I was honoured amongst many other great women including the Honourable Inonge Wina, the first female vice president of Zambia, and also with two of my mentors, Dr. Tukiya K. Mabula, Deputy Governor at the Bank of Zambia, and the woman who taught me filmmaking Musola Cathrine Kaseketi. How cool can that be? Being honoured together with the women who you look up to?" A decade before in 2007, Musola was recognized at the Harare-based International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), during which she received the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema Award at its inaugural reception.
Like Jessie Chisi, women are aware of the important cultural exchange and support that the international experiences can provide. Because of the training and production opportunities outside of Zambia, women navigate in myriad locations, their home country always the point of departure. Seya Kitenge Fundafunda attended high school at the International School of Geneva, later enrolling in a film internship program in Helskinki, Finland. From these experiences she honed her filmmaking and organizing skills as director of a media company African Reel, whose mission is, to tell realistic African stories, to inspire, educate, motivate, challenge, as well as entertain the world in general and Africa in particular. Another project, Amka Arts Festival is a multi disciplinary arts festival whose main goal is to promote Zambian art and showcase its diverse culture. She had this to say about the empowerment of women: "Women are the major players in the development process and need to be empowered. Media is a powerful tool to educate women on issues that affect them, because what people see they believe and begin to practice." Rungano Nyoni, born in Zambia, emigrated to Wales at the age of nine. She directed several short films, and her first feature film, I am not a Witch, was selected at the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes.
Through the efforts of women in Zambia and the Diaspora, Musola Kaseketi's vision of her country continues to resonate: "Zambia is a nation filled with artists who have great potential in the area of acting and production."
These Zambian women are among the growing cohort of filmmakers and film activist who contribute to the vibrancy of a cinema culture in the country.
Report by Beti Ellerson
Links to articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog:
I Am Not A Witch by Rungano Nyoni (Zambia | Zambie)
Jessie Chisi: Woman of the Year in Film Award
Jessie Chisi talks about "Between Rings: The Esther Phiri Story" and her hopes for Zambian cinema
I Am Every Woman: Call for Entry View Special Images Film Festival 2012 (Zambia)
Rungano Nyoni: Mwansa the Great
A Conversation with Sam Kessie
Musola Cathrine Kaseketi: You Can Make a Difference