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Quaranstream: Five Fervently Affecting African Films

04/09/2020

As you’re probably already aware, we offer the streaming services Hoopla and Kanopy for movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc. During these times, we thought it might be a good idea to offer lists of films available through streaming on/from a variety of topics, themes, regions, directors etc. In this second installment, we will be selecting five African films from different countries that are available for streaming as of this writing (please note that most of these films contain mature subject matter and are intended for a mature audience only):

Rafiki (Kenya) Two girls, Kena and Ziki, are from rivaling families and even though they strive to be friends, their connection is marked by an upcoming complication: both their fathers are competing for the same position. Despite this, they continue their deep friendship, which eventually turns into a romance. Deep-seated prejudice against same-sex relationships surrounds them in their society and they must learn to choose either feeling accepted for compliance or accepted for what they believe in.

Hyenas (Senegal): Linguare returns to her home of Colobane after many years of absence. 30 years ago, she had been banished from the village for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Things have changed however and Linguare is now a successful woman while the village has seen its fair share of difficulties. Upon her return, she lavishes the villagers with her riches and promises them more luxuries if they fulfill one of her demands. The proposition is dark, revenge-filled and leaves the villagers with a very challenging conundrum.

I Am Not a Witch (Zambia): A young, silent, mysterious girl is discovered and taken into custody by local government officials after she appears at a Zambian village and is involved in an incident. She is placed in a "witch” camp where the "witches" take care of her and name her Shula. All the witches are tethered to a large ribbon which is intended to prevent them from running away while they perform their work at the camp. Mr. Banda, the man who runs the camp and who placed Shula there, is an inept government official who uses Shula's prestige as the only young witch for financial and social gain. Though adapting to her new life, Shula must make a decision for her future. This is an excellent tale with sprinkles of satire.

Flame (Zimbabwe): Set during the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe War of Liberation, two young girls, Florence and Nyasha decide to train in a liberation army camp. Florence changes her name to Flame and Nyasha to Liberty as the two continue their strong bond during the many hardships of war. The film is then transported to the end of the war and liberation for Zimbabwe, wherein the two women experience friction as they have conflicting viewpoints in their new society. Released to much controversy in Zimbabwe as the government considered it subversive, the film is a tribute to the women guerillas who fought for the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and their story and contributions that so often seemed forgotten.

Samba Traoré (Burkina Faso): Two men rob a gas station; one dies and one manages to escape with the riches. The one who survived, Samba, makes his way back to his village with his newfound fortune. Attempting to live a normal life again, he marries and opens up a bar. Yet Samba can't shake the nagging fear and guilt his past actions have upon him. The constant fear of the police coming for him and the persistent curiosity his neighbors have about his past tear away at his psyche.

Be sure to also check out the list below for 10 streaming African films, 5 of which are on this list and 5 additional titles from other countries.

If you’re interested in learning more about African films, the African Film Database has information on a number of films.

Streamable African Films at OPLby OPL_Film

Ten films currently available for streaming through Kanopy or Hoopla from African countries or by African directors. Note: Films contain mature subject matter and are intended for a mature audience.

  • Rafiki | Kanopy

    Two girls, Kena and Ziki, are from different backgrounds but are joined together in odd circumstances: both their fathers are competing for the same position. Despite this, a friendship blossoms between them which eventually turns into a romance. Their social environment might not accept their relationship but they learn ways to continue to love and care for each other.
  • Hyenas | Kanopy

    Linguare returns to her home of Colobane after many years of absence. Upon her return, she lavishes the villagers with her riches and promises them more luxuries if they fulfill one of her biggest desires. The proposition is dark, revenge-filled and leaves the villagers with a consumerist versus moral conundrum.
  • Image: Dry Season
    Atim, brandishing a revolver given to him by his grandfather, sets off to find the man who killed his father. He finds his enemy working at a bakery. In time, the baker employs and trains Atim. The two create an unexpected bond, but past events still leave things ambiguous and tense.
  • Image: Munyurangabo
    Munyurangabo and his friend Sangwa return to their village. Munyurangabo returns to seek revenge after his parents' death during the Rwandan genocide and Sangwa returns to visit the childhood home he left at a young age. Though the two clearly share a great friendship, those around them, more specifically Sangwa's parents, believe that Hutus and Tutsis are sworn enemies.
  • I Am Not a Witch | Kanopy

    A young, silent, mysterious girl is discovered and taken into custody by local government officials. She is placed in a "witch' camp where the "witches" take care of her and name her Shula. Mr. Banda, the man who runs the camp and who placed Shula there, is an inept government official who uses Shula's prestige as the only young witch for financial and social gain. This is an excellent tale with sprinkles of dark satire.
  • Yeelen | Kanopy

    Traveling over the arid Bambara, Fulani and Dogan lands of ancient West Africa, Nianankorom, a young magic wielder attempts to fend of a cult while being chased and tracked by his evil wizard father. The two end up in a showdown in this visually striking film.
  • Flame | Kanopy

    Set during the Rhodesian Bush War/Zimbabwe War of Liberation and leading up to soon after the achievement of independence, Flame and Liberty are two freedom fighters who form a strong bond during the war but find hardship after its end. Released to much controversy in Zimbabwe, the film is a tribute to the women guerillas who fought for the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army.
  • Maami | Kanopy

    Kashiwamo, a famous soccer player anticipating the 2010 World Cup, reflects on the past, most specifically on his mother, Maami. He reminisces on the kindness and tenderness she provided while they grew up in poverty and was left as a single mother by her estrangted husband.
  • Samba Traoré | Kanopy

    Two men rob a gas station, one dies and one manages to escape with the riches. The one who survived, Samba, makes his way back to his village with his newfound fortune. Attempting to live a normal life again, Samba can't shake the nagging fear and guilt his past actions have upon him.
  • Lamb | Kanopy

    After the death of his mother, Ephraim is sent by his father to live with some relatives and takes his sheep with him. With an upcoming religious ceremony, the relatives want to cook his lamb for the feast. Ephraim decides to leave with his lamb and set off to mountains on the way back home.