5 African movies by women directors you should watch today

Kemi Adetiba at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
Kemi Adetiba at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

Back in February, Black Panther gave international audiences a taste of Africa in a mainstream move that didn’t portray Africans only as slaves or maids or geared around struggle narratives. It was a fantastic celebration of Africa (even if it was set in a fictional world), with its unique and incredibly diverse cultures.

But let's take the opportunity on Africa Day to celebrate real African stories directed by women. 

READ MORE: Entertaining shows that don’t rely on the struggle hook to tell a good story

The Wedding Party – directed by Kemi Adetiba

Let’s start off with a nice comedy. Dozie and Dunni are excited to get married and have finally reached the big day, but they find their wedding plans are ruined when their families start fighting and exes show up to mess up the happy day. Nigeria is celebrated in this movie and if you’re not familiar with the traditions involved in Nigerian weddings, then this will be a treat to watch with all the dancing, singing and money being thrown. 

Like Cotton Twines – directed by Leila Djansi

A far more serious movie, this Ghanaian film stars Insecure’s Jay Ellis as an American English teacher, Micah, who comes to Ghana to help students. Then he meets 14-year-old Tuigi and learns that she is being forced to drop out of school to become a Trokosi – wife of the Gods which is a practice of religious sexual slavery. Micah is determined to help Tuigi find a life outside of the tradition. 

Ayanda – directed by Sara Blecher

A proudly South African film! Ayanda is a beautiful coming-of-age film about a young woman who is trying to keep the memory of her father alive by taking over his mechanic workshop and turning old vintage cars into something new. She also finds solace in the arms of David, a Nigerian immigrant who fled Nigeria for a better life in South Africa, but he faces a lot of xenophobia from the community and the police. 

READ MORE: Our 21 favourite female fictional duos

Gone Too Far – directed by Destiny Ekaragha

This is a British Nigerian film, so while a bit different from the others on this list, it still at its heart is about being African – and especially being African in a country different from your birth. Yemi is a Nigerian-British teen whose older brother, Ikudayisi, comes from Nigeria to live with him. Ikudayisi’s terrible fashion sense, accent and overconfidence with women make Yemi uncomfortable and threatens to destroy the little street cred he’s built up. Then they are forced to spend the day together on their Peckham estate and eventually learn about the values of family and self-respect. 

New Money – Directed by Tope Oshin

Set in Lagos, Nigeria this film is the story of Toun Odumosu who was a shopgirl and dating an unemployed security guard when suddenly her father leaves her his legacy and she becomes a billionaire. She now has to merge her newfound wealth with her old life and find out who still deserves a seat at her table. It features strong female leads and shows you the life of a Nigerian from the eyes of an average girl who suddenly gets rich. 

READ MORE: The real reason we're suckers for reality TV shows

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