Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.

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Posts tagged "film"

Producers of ‘Nairobi Half Life’ Bring to Life New Kenyan Drama ‘VEVE’.

Homegrown Kenyan political thriller ‘VEVE’ is an action-packed drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Recently screened at this year’s Durban International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere, VEVE is the latest film from the producers of one of Kenya’s most talked about films Nairobi Half Life.

Set in the Kenyan town of Maua in the north of the country, VEVE is crime thriller that follows the lives of several characters as they find themselves navigating a world of political intrigue, revenge, love and ambitious aspirations for success, all centered around VEVE - a local term for the plant stimulant known more commonly as ‘khat’.

Directed by Simon Mukali and written by Natasha Likimani, the film stars a range of local actors including Emo Rugene as leading man ‘Kenzo’, Lowry Odhiambo as ‘Amos’, a shrewd businessman, and Lizz Njagah as ‘Esther’, Amos’ dissatisfied wife.

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Cecile Emeke’s ‘Strolling’ Series Documents and Gives A Voice to Diasporan Youth in the UK.

Armed with the objective of removing the veil of invisibility cast upon young black voices and faces, Strolling is a multimedia series created by filmmaker Cecile Emeke that sees her walking through the streets of London with other young black individuals discussing any and everything that concerns their daily realities. Strolling was birthed from Emeke’s everyday conversations with friends and acquaintances that often found her sentiments about issues relating to life as a young diasporan African in the UK being echoed, inspiring the filmmaker in her to document these interactions.

Whilst the series adopts a one-way casual form of dialogue, the importance of this project is not in any way diminished by the nature of the conversation. Rather, the messages embedded in these videos are all the more amplified by this form of broadcast, and the visual communicative platform allows the audiences to engage with the individuals without interrupting their agency or representation of themselves.

As Emeke says:

"Growing up in London I was not reflected anywhere, not fully. I think most of us tried to grasp on to images of African-American culture, and we tried to cling on to our identities from the Caribbean and Africa. We’d wave our Jamaica flags at carnival and watch reruns of fresh prince but ultimately nothing reflected us. We didn’t exist.

Part of the aim of erasure is to alienate you and therefore silence you. Strolling is the complete and utter rejection of this implicit call to silence and the self-destructive assimilation required for survival.”

In this video, Abraham strolls through Hackney with Emeke as he chats to her (and us) about everything from male feminists, patriarchy, crying, to “great” Britain, reparations for Africa, Palestine, Boko Haram, hair and more.

The full playlist is embedded above.

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Movie Mondays: Watch South African Marikana Documentary ‘Miners Shot Down’ in Full.

Filmmaker Rehad Desai looks into the incidents surrounding the 2012 massacre of protesting mine workers at the Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana, as well as the socio-political implications of this shocking and tragic event. 

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Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People - Soon Showing at Film Forum.

A compelling documentary, from the looks of the trailer alone, by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris that looks at the visual history of black people in America through the power of photography.

On one hand, Harris delves into the world of black photographers in the United States who have used the camera to define themselves and re-create narratives that speak to African-American experiences and audiences on a fundamental level. On the other hand, the film looks at how the same medium of photography was used as a political and propagandist tool to demean and continuously oppress America’s black population through racist imagery. 

The film was inspired by Deborah Willis’s book, Reflections in Black,and sheds light on the profound importance and influence of how art can be used both as a form of empowerment and suppression. 

Through A Lens Darkly is will be on show at New York’s Film Forum from August 27th until September 6th

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Movie Mondays: “Burning An Illusion” - Dir. Menelik Shabazz (1981).

Pat is a single woman, employed, financially independent, carefree and living in her own flat in London, until she meets suave and smooth talking Del. The two start dating and it isn’t long before Del moves in with Pat.

At first, things seem rosy between the them, that is, until Del quits (or loses) his job. As newly unemployed Del becomes more complacent with his situation, fully relying and taking advantage of the care that Pat and her job provide for him, their relationship takes a quick downward spiral and it isn’t long before things heatedly escalate.

Burning An Illusion is a powerful and important film for so many reasons. Not only does it feature a black woman as the central character, Pat - played by Cassie McFarlane - is a woman with complexities that defy stereotypes of black women throughout the history of Western cinema. She’s both strong and sensitive, defiant and desperate, lovestruck and lonely.

The film also tackles a number of issues related to gender roles and expectations within the Afro-Caribbean British community, black consciousness, race, class and other socio-economic factors that personally affect the film’s many characters.

In making this film writer and director Menelik Shabazz, born in Barbados, became the second black filmmaker to produce a feature film in Britain. Shabazz is also the founder of the BFM (Black Filmmakers) Film Festival in England.

The film won the Grand Prix at the Amiens International Film Festival in France, and  actress Cassie McFarlane won the Evening Standard Award for “Most Promising New Actress”.

Burning an Illusion and director Menelik Shabazz were honoured with a Screen Nation Classic Film Award in October 2011.

The relationship between Pat and Del at times reminded me of the couple in Nothing But A Man.

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"Dear White People" Official Full Length Trailer.

Get a nearly three minute dose of one the most highly anticipated films of the year and the winner of the U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

"Anita: Speaking Truth to Power."

Recently watched this powerful and compelling documentary about Anita Hill and the sexual assault case where she provided testimony against Judge Clarence Thomas who was then nominated for the US Supreme Court.

At the time Hill, who was a former employee of Thomas’ (who shamefully called the proceedings a case of ‘high-tech lynching’ as a way to deflect from the issue of sexual harassment by using race as a factor - the only factor), was a law professor at the University of Oklahoma where she grew up. She gave her testimony live on national television in October 1991 and, unbeknownst to her, the effect of her decision to speak out would almost immediately spark what the Boston Globe called, “a passionate debate about sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere”, and one that is far from over.

In a world where gender and racial oppression are systemic, and where victims are blamed and perpetrators shielded by the oppressive and shaming nature of rape culture, Anita Hill’s story remains both relevant and necessary in its telling. What’s I found particularly interesting about the film is how director Freida Mock conveyed this story in such a way that made it both Anita’s story and that of so many women in the United States and around the world.

Hill, now a professor and Brandeis University, has dedicated much of her life to speaking about sexual harassment and gender issues, as well as how these matters often intersect with race, as well as helping others find their voice. 

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FILM: ‘Kebab’ by Abraham Popoola (Trailer).

When Cameron, an unemployed God-fearing graduate, runs out of food he turns to Anthony, his wealthy, atheist flatmate for help. The pair rumble through capitalism, religion, education and morality as they tussle over the evening’s desired meal…Kebab.

Abraham Popoola is an actor, currently training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and director based in Hackney, London. Popoola worked alongside fellow filmmaker Cecile Emeke, who is the film’s cinematographer, and stars alongside actor Jamael Westman. Kebab is Popoola’s first film.

DOCUMENTARY: “Kaffir Culture” by Kannan Arunasalam.

In some parts of the world, the word ‘kaffir’, an Arabic term meaning ‘infidel’, is or was used as a derogatory racially offensive term in reference to black people. Used during the Arab slave trade, the it was later adopted by various European communities, such as the Dutch and Portuguese, to refer to the Africans they kidnapped and enslaved.

Through the enslavement of black people from the African continent to other parts of the world, the word found its way to Sri Lanka where it was used to describe the descendents of Africans brought there by Portuguese enslavers and British colonists from around the 16th century. But where in South Africa the world still carries a negative connotation even amongst black people, Sri Lankan kaffirs use the term boldly as a descriptor and a way of acknowledging their East African roots and heritage.

In this short documentary, filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam tells the story of a small group of Sri Lankan kaffirs, many of whom are mixed, and their struggle to keep their culture alive as their community shrinks.

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All Africa, All the time.

DOCUMENTARY: Soul Power (The Greatest Music Festival, 1974).

"In 1974, Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine set out to organize a music festival in Africa. Their dream was to bring together the most renowned African-American and African musicians in their common homeland. 

They approached boxing promoter Don King with the proposal to combine the festival with a little fight that King was organizing between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. King had already persuaded President Mobutu of Zaire to underwrite and provide the venue for the fight. Mobutu agreed to host the festival, but declined to provide financial support.”

Released in 2008, ‘Soul Power’ is a 2008 documentary film directed by Jeff Levy-Hinte that chronicles the Zaire ‘74 music festival that accompanied the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between US boxing greats Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in October of that year. The film was made entirely out of archival footage, some of which was first used to make the documentary film “When We Were Kings”.

Performers in the film include James Brown, The Spinners, OK Jazz featuring Franco, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, B.B. King, Pembe Dance Troupe, The Crusaders, Fania All-Stars featuring Celia Cruz, Big Black, Afrisa featuring Tabu LEY, The Mighty J.B.’s and Manu Dibango.

"When We Were Kings" is documents the fight between Ali and Foreman, mostly from the perspective of Ali, and includes breaks with talking heads providing commentary on the event.

This October will mark the 40th anniversary of both occasions.

“Your perceptions become your reality” by Nikissi Serumaga-Jamo.

Am I Going Too Fast? is a poetic documentary filmed in Nakuru and Nairobi, Kenya by Hank Willis Thomas and Christopher Myers. As successful applicants of the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge, it was one of 5 short films to receive a $10,000 prize and premiere at a private event at Sundance.

With an engaging soundscape and capturing cinematography, this film exchanges talking heads and sympathetic storylines for practical economic solutions and beautiful characters and stories.

To all filmmakers interested, you can still apply for this same grant, deadline is July 1. There is no fee to apply.

More information can be found at tongal.com/sundance.

#TBTAfrica: The Black Pharaohs - Nubian Pharaohs (Ancient Egypt History Documentary).

Dr Vivian Davies claims that a recently discovered set of hieroglyphs proves that, in 800 BC, Egypt was under the rule of black Pharaohs from neighbouring Nubia. This film examines the impact of these discoveries.

Historians have long known about Kush, but relegated its importance to a vassal state of Egypt, significant only for its gold reserves. Early excavations in the Kush capital at Kerma suffered from the innate racism of the archaeologists. Fabulous grave goods, discovered in the 20th century, were thought to have belonged to Kush’s Egyptian overlords. They didn’t consider that a black African culture could have challenged Egypt’s supremacy.

The inscription exposed the truth. Although it won battles, Kush eventually lost the war, and for the next 1000 years, Egypt had the upper hand. But the inscription served as a warning prophecy to Egypt that it might pay a high price. The enslaved Kushites would have their revenge. Allowed, and even encouraged, to rebuild their own kingdom along the lines of Egypt, in 747 BC, Kush attacked the Pharaoh’s power in a daring land grab.

The Kushite king, Piye, overthrew the yoke, conquered mighty Egypt and established a 100-year rule of black Pharaohs. Even after being ousted from the Egyptian throne, Kushite kings continued to rule an empire as mighty as any, until the arrival of Alexander the Great. For a number of years, British Museum archaeologists have been making find after find in the Upper Nile Valley to substantiate this story - huge lost pyramids, burial chambers of 200 workers, and stores of gold.

The only thing that this documentary leaves me confused about is, if the Kushites are black, what race where the Ancient Egyptians? At times, I think it’s best not to racialize these portions of history, at least in the same manner that we racially categorize each other today, according the a white western lens, as race in past civilizations was not interpreted or structured in the ways that we’ve become familiar with.  Although I’m no student of history or anthropologist, in instances such as these I think it best to guide classifications based more on ethnicity than interpretations of race.



Five African Films that Highlight Mothers (and Mother Figures).


There are not one but two women in this film that are wonderful mother figures. The first, and most prominent in the film, is Whoopi Goldberg’s character. An inspiring woman from the moment we meet her, Mary Masombuka is not only a teacher, but a woman who’s vision of black liberation in apartheid South Africa propels her to defy racist and brutal authorities. Where Masombuka lacks the vigor of youth, Sarafina fills in and fulfills the dreams that cannot be contained to the four walls of their classroom. But let’s not forget Sarafina’s real mother played by the unforgettable Miriam Makeba. Although in this part of the film we see Sarafina almost mocking her mother’s complacency as a domestic worker, we know that Sarafina sees beyond their circumstances to understand the sacrificial nature of this relationship.


Dedicated wife, mother and friend, Yesterday (played by Leleti Khumalo) is a hard-working young woman living in the Zululand village of Rooihook whose life takes a sudden turn for the worst when she discovers that she’s infected with HIV/AIDS. As she confronts her husband, a migrant labourer working in the mines, his violent reaction and rejection of her and her young daughter, Beauty, shocks Yesterday but also makes her more dedicated to ensure that Beauty receives an education and is taken care of when Yesterday is no longer around.


A single mother who divorced her abusive husband, Mati (Rokhaya Niang) toils daily by selling various goods at a nearby market, which she transports there via a large wheelbarrow — prompting local residents to dub her “Madame Brouette.”


Perhaps one of the most cinematically beautiful films ever made, this diaspora film by directer Julie Dash is full of women of various generations who are more than inspiring in their own right.


Dedicated to the mother of the film director, Faraw tells the story of Zamiatou - a woman who more than fulfills her role as a dutiful wife and mother for her Sahelian family. It’s a difficult and burdensome life for her and, tired of seeing her mother suffer, Zamiatou’s daughter Hareyrata offers to work as a maid for rich French tourists, but her mother refuses. However, it’s not long before Zamiatou has to find a job of her own to support her family.

The censors’ action is a knee-jerk political response, yet there is a sense in which it is not entirely unreasonable. Nigeria is on edge, with upcoming elections that will be fiercely contested, religion and ethnicity increasingly politicized, and Boko Haram committing mass murders and abductions. In a political culture already averse to openness, this might seem a particularly appropriate time for censorship.

But we cannot hide from our history. Many of Nigeria’s present problems are, arguably, consequences of an ahistorical culture. As a child, I sometimes found rusted bullets in our garden, reminders of how recent the war had been. My parents are still unable to talk in detail about certain war experiences. The past is present, and we are better off acknowledging it and, hopefully, learning from it.

As the Nigerian Censors Board puts a ban on public screenings of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ film adaptation, the author takes to pen and paper to express her feelings on the situation.