Gendered Experiences of Men in Films by African Women
In many films by African women about men and boys, gendered experiences through a female gaze reveal a particular sensitivity and perspective.
Yvonne Jila of the Harare-based International Images Film Festival (IIFF) for Women emphasizes the importance of films that "portray men as positive role models and great allies to women by recognizing that the human struggle is common to all and is not gender specific."
Siza Mukwedini's Mukanya was inspired by conversations around the state of Zimbabwe as well as African fathers in the face of patriarchy and changing perspectives of what fatherhood is all about.
From a past marred by drunkenness and violence, the village menace, Mukanya, embarks on a journey to redeem himself by saving his son, who has become a reflection of Mukanya’s failures as a father. This is the journey of two men transforming into fathers.
Twiggy Matiwana's The Bicycle Man shows a sensitive side of the manner in which a man deals with what is generally viewed as a woman’s illness: breast cancer.
In A Tale of Love and Desire, Leyla Bouzid wanted to talk about a shy young man, an experience that exists but that is rarely represented. Stuck in clichés the only representations of men of North African origin are displayed of a very virile, visible masculinity.
In Towards Tenderness, Alice Diop searched for what it was to be a man, the difficulty to love, the difficulty of being and becoming a man in a ultra-sexualised world marked by advertising images, where love is reduced to a consumer product (Sylvie Braibant)
At the 2011 edition of the Harare-based International Images Film Festival (IIFF) for Women the category Best Male Against Gender-based Violence was introduced to highlight the role of men as active players in the fight against gender-based violence. Similarly, the "New Man" section of the Festival introduced screenings of films that highlighted a new consciousness of what it takes to fulfill the role of a responsible, caring and loving “New Man” in African societies. In addition, The African Fathers Initiative of Zimbabwe was very visible at the awards event. The African Fathers Initiative describes its purposes as follows: the African Fathers Initiative is an Africa-wide organization aiming at improving the well-being of children and families by promoting involved, responsible and committed fathers. We aim to build an African consensus that active involved fathers can improve men, women and children’s lives. From our base in Harare, Zimbabwe we involve all men and women who want to know more about the value of fathering and fatherhood initiatives throughout Africa.
A selection of articles about gendered experiences of men in films by African women
on the African Women in Cinema Blog:
Delphine Kabore: Nos Voisins (Our neighbors)
Leyla Bouzid: A tale of love and desire
Anissa Daoud: Le bain (The bath)
Aicha Macky: Zinder
Sofia Alaoui, laureate: «Qu'importe si les bêtes meurent» | "So What if the Goats Die"
Josza Anjembe: Baltringe
Marie Clémentine Dusabejambo: Icyasha (Etiquette)
Mukanya, Siza Mukwedini, Zimbabwe
A conversation with Twiggy Matiwana | Une conversation avec Twiggy Matiwana - South Africa | Afrique du Sud
When Alice Diop takes us "towards masculine tenderness" | Quand Alice Diop nous entraîne "vers la tendresse" au masculin
Alice Diop: "It is up to us to work on our own complexes"
Gendered representations of Africans in the French Hexagon: An Analysis of La Noire de... by Ousmane Sembene and Med Hondo's Soleil O