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.