Free access films and film programme

Here you can find the free access films screened at the Africa Knows! film programme.

Somalinimo

Documentary film, 18 mins, by Awa Farah, Alice Aedy, 2020

Writer and producer Awa Farah and filmmaker Alice Aedy made a documentary to express her experiences as a British-Somali woman at Cambridge University. Awa had become increasingly irritated by what she saw as a stereotypical depiction of Somali people and, more widely, black, Muslim women. Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, and with elite universities under attack for their poor diversity records, Somalinimo follows the conversations of Awa and three other Cambridge University students, Miske Ali, Hafsa Said and Samiya Dubed. The women talk about their immigrant parents, discuss their heritage, unpack identity conflicts and find solidarity in what might have been an intimidating and isolating environment. Somalinimo is also a love-letter to Somali culture: with a distinctive visual approach, it takes us inside one of the most traditional institutions in the UK as well as a the set design of a traditional Somali home, to evoke a powerful sense of nostalgia.


River Nomads

Documentary film, 42 mins, by Éric Hahonou, Lotte Pelckmans, 2016

Amongst the many groups which inhabit the river banks and islands scattered along the 4200 kilometers of the Niger river, the Kebbawa stand out for their peculiar nomadic lifestyle. Little is known about these migrant fishermen who form convoys of large wooden boats (called ‘pinasses’) on which they navigate together from Northern Nigeria (Yauri, Lake Kainji) to North-Western Niger (around Ayorou) and Eastern Mali (Ansongo, Gao, Timbuktu, Tindirma) where fish is abundant during the dry season. At the head of each convoy stands a man – the navigator – whose role is to guide safely the boats from Nigeria to Niger/Mali. The navigator or pilot is the one who makes sure the boats will not hit a rock, take a blind way, or run aground on a shoal in the river.


Hope(less). Biographies of Radicalization

Documentary film, 40 mins, by Mirjam de Bruijn and Sjoerd Sijsma, 2019

In this film, produced by Voice4Thought, we follow two researchers who, on their turn, follow people who live(d) through long periods of violence, conflict and hardship in Chad and Mali. The stories they encounter are stories of lost hopes, of feelings of being misunderstood, and of radicalization in multiple ways. The two stories of the researchers show how working on such stories also influences their positions, and finally radicalizes their positions.

This film tells the story of the process of radicalization. However, it is mostly a reflection on this process, and how it is an almost inevitable outcome of an unjust world. It raises questions such as: Is it possible to keep distance from the stories when you study them? How do you reflect on the suffering you see? And how does this influence their work and the decisions they take? What do these stories tell us about political interventions in radicalization processes?


From Trash to Treasure, Turning Negatives into Positives (Lesotho)

Documentary film, 25 mins, by Iara Lee, 2020

In Lesotho—a highland country surrounded by South Africa—an artist named Nthabiseng TeReo Mohanela takes discarded materials and transforms them into unique clothing and accessories. Teaching young people the benefits of recycling and re-creation, she calls her project “From Trash to Treasure.” With TeReo’s work as a starting point, this short film showcases a broader spirit of reimagination among artists in Lesotho, who use creativity to respond to entrenched social problems: Filmmakers show the need to end child marriage. Musicians write songs about climate change. Farmers collect seeds to protect endangered tree species. Designers use fashion to preserve traditional Basotho culture and challenge common perceptions of Africa. Profiling a variety of these innovators, “FROM TRASH TO TREASURE: turning negatives into positives” encourages us to take lessons from those who rethink, reuse, and reinvent in order to promote positive change.