Film
Photo still from 'aKasha' via TIFF.

19 Films from Africa & the Diaspora To Check Out at TIFF 2018

The feature films, documentaries and shorts hailing from the continent and diaspora you can't miss.

We're getting closer to this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and there are intriguing feature films, documentaries and shorts from Africa and the diaspora to look forward to this year.

In it's 43rd year, TIFF seeks to continue to change the way people see the world through film. Some standouts coming from the continent to look out for are Nollywood veteran Genevieve Nnaji's directorial debut, another riveting work from South Africa's Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, a crop of films from North Africa and more.

Check out the films, with synopses from TIFF below.

Read: These 5 Black Directors Are Set To Premiere Films at TIFF 2018


1. Sew the Winter to my Skin | South Africa

Provocative South African filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (Of Good Report) returns to the Festival with this rousing reimagining of the hunt for John Kepe, an outlaw in 1950s South Africa who robbed from white colonist farmers and gave to the impoverished Indigenous poor, becoming a threat to the foundations of Apartheid society.

Read more here.

2. aKasha | Sudan/South Africa

Photo still from 'aKasha' via TIFF.

Documentarian hajooj kuka takes a self-assured step towards fictional storytelling in this comedy pivoting on an unlikely love triangle between a boy, a girl, and an AK-47 in rebel-held areas of Sudan.

Read more here.

3. Farming | UK

Photo still from 'Farming' via TIFF.

Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje draws on his own life for this electrifying feature directorial debut, about a London-born Nigerian child voluntarily placed in a white working-class home as part of a 1960s social experiment, stranding him between cultures and sending him through adolescence on a twisting journey from destructive self-loathing to perseverance.

Read more here.

4. Fig Tree | Ethiopia

Photo still from 'Fig Tree' via TIFF.

Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian's unflinching feature debut, set at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War, follows an Israeli teenage girl as she attempts to save her Christian boyfriend from being drafted, even as she and her family are poised to flee the country.


Read more here.

5. Lionheart | Nigeria

Photo still from 'Lionheart' via TIFF.

In order to save her father's ailing bus company, competent but perennially overlooked Adaeze must find a way to work alongside feckless uncle Godswill, in the sharp and comically observed directorial debut from Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji.

Read more here.

6. Rafiki | Kenya

The latest from Wanuri Kahiu charts a precarious love story between two young Kenyan women in a society where homosexuality is banned.

Read more here.

7. The Mercy of the Jungle | Belgium/France

Photo still from 'The Mercy of the Jungle' via TIFF.

Set in 1998 at the outset of the Second Congo War, Rwandan director Joël Karekezi's second feature is a propulsive odyssey about a pair of Rwandan soldiers navigating both wilderness and personal existential crises while lost behind enemy lines.

Read more here.

8. Angel | Senegal/Belgium/Netherlands

Photo still from 'Angel' via TIFF.

A fateful encounter between a Senegalese sex worker and a world-famous Belgian racing cyclist turns tragic, in director Koen Mortier's (Ex Drummer) atmospheric and ephemeral film about finite bodies and infinite loves.

Read more here.

9. Look at Me | Tunisia

Photo still from 'Look at Me' via TIFF.

Torn between the life he thought he could leave behind in Tunisia and the life he's created for himself in Marseille, a man finds himself at a crucial crossroads, in Nejib Belkadhi's latest.

Read more here.

10. Twin Flower | Italy

In Laura Luchetti's dark drama about companionship, lost innocence, and shared destiny, two teenagers—one on the run from the immigrant trafficker her father used to work for, the other an illegal migrant from the Ivory Coast—form an unlikely but powerful bond as they travel together across the harsh and beautiful Sardinian landscape.

Read more here.

11. Angelo | Austria/Luxembourg

Photo still from 'Angelo' via TIFF.

In Markus Schleinzer's long-awaited second feature and true-story drama, a young African boy is abducted, sold, and forced into 18th-century Viennese court life where he must wrestle with the restrictions placed upon him by society.

Read more here.

12. EXT. Night | Egypt

Photo still from 'EXT. Night' via TIFF.

When a day in the life of a beleaguered Egyptian filmmaker goes sideways, he witnesses anew issues like class and gender relations, in director Ahmad Abdalla's touching social satire.

Read more here.

13. The Ambassador's Wife | Burkina Faso/Sweden

Although she dreamed of a career in opera, the French Ambassador's wife now lives a restrained life in opulent seclusion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. With unparalleled precision, Theresa Traore Dahlberg establishes a nuanced and fascinating documentary that subtly delves into the complexity of class, women's roles, and post-colonialism.

Read more here.

14. Dulce | Colombia/USA

A mother in a remote Colombian coastal village teaches her young daughter to swim so she can harvest piangua shellfish alongside the community, in this exquisite documentary that delicately captures the girl's moment of understanding of the urgency and potential threats of survival. Directors: Guille Isa and Angello Faccini.

Read more here.

15. Freedom Fields | Libya

Photo still from 'Freedom Fields' via TIFF.

Naziha Arebi offers an intimate look at post-revolution Libya through the eyes of an aspiring all-female soccer team, whose struggle to gain mainstream acceptance mirrors the broader challenges facing women in contemporary Libyan society.

Read more here.

16. Facing North | Uganda

Beautifully composed and refined, Facing North centres on a bride preparing for her wedding day in a small Ugandan village, and the complexity of her decision to put her faith in a man who has left to pursue greater opportunity abroad. Director: Tukei Muhumuza.

Read more here.

17. Brotherhood | Tunisia

Photo still from 'Brotherhood' via TIFF.

Mohamed is deeply shaken and suspicious when his estranged eldest son returns home to rural Tunisia with a mysterious young wife in tow. Every moment in Meryam Joobeur's wrenching drama is infused with the emotional complexities of a family reunion, and the consequences of past wounds and misunderstanding.

Read more here.

18. Divine Wind | Algeria

Photo still from 'Divine Wind' via TIFF.

A young man and woman form an intense bond when they are assigned to launch an armed action against an oil-refinery in the North African desert, in the latest from veteran Algerian director Merzak Allouache.

Read more here.

19. A Wedding Day | Algeria

In this rich and assured portrait, a crime boss in exile in Algiers oscillates between his business, friends, and the boredom and melancholy of his daily routine.

Read more here.

Music
Seun Kuti at Felabration. Photo: OkayAfrica.

The 10 Best African Music Festivals

Here are ten of the best music festivals to experience across the African continent, including both established stages and newer productions.

African music, in all its genres and forms, has one of the largest congregations in the world, with millions of people both on the continent and in the diaspora celebrating their love and connection to their culture through sound. Despite the rapid digitization of our music consumption through the internet and streaming services, nothing will ever beat the experience of live music.

Music festivals have become a great inlet into the arts and cultures of the societies that host them, while offering great potential to local economies and countless business opportunities for African artists to grown their brands. Yet this pivotal part of the music experience on the continent is never really prioritized, despite the vast number of festival with diverse genres available all year round, all over Africa.

Therefore, in no particular order, here are ten African music festivals to bookmark.

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Arts + Culture

This Stunning Series of Self-Portraits Explores Love And The Concept of Letting Go

Cape Town photographer Meet The Internet shares a few images from her exhibition.

Cape Town photographer Siziphiwe Ngqoyiyana, who is known online as "Meet The Internet," does not take the topic of love lightly. "Most of us rushed into it," she says, "and we started dating without understanding what love is."

Her latest photography series, Love Through My Eyes is, is a reflection on how people around her deal with love, from staying in toxic relationships because they fear being alone, to those who build walls around themselves in fear of heartbreak and are hence unlovable.

"We come from broken families," says Ngqoyiyana. "Some with no fathers at all, so we go out yearning to be loved by a man and pray for better experiences than what we see our mothers go through. We get our fair share of hurt, we watch people come to our lives, we share our bodies with them and when it's enough for them they leave. We even start understanding and forgiving the cycle."

This cycle is reflected in the photos. In most of them, the color red is prevalent, symbolic for love. And the main subject, which is the photographer herself, is elusive, hiding her face either with a mask or red ropes, which could symbolize the blinding effect of love and how it can suffocate you.

Ngqoyiyana wants the images to focus on both sides of love. "I like the concept of balloons," she says, "because from a young age it kinda teaches us the concept of holding on to something and letting go. Obviously letting go is never fun, hence we cried when we would see our balloons fly away."

Ngqoyiyana got into photography by taking behind the scenes photos in music video sets. Her first gig as a photographer was a matric ball, and she recently started directing music videos.

The photos for Love Through My Eyes took "roughly three weeks" to make, and are all self-portraits. A confessed shy person, for a long time Ngqoyiyana wasn't happy with her appearance. "I can be whoever I want to be with self-portraits, and I am not so conscious about the way I look," she says.

"When I started taking pictures I was at a stage in my life where I was depressed and anxious, because I didn't have a career, and with no tertiary education," says Ngqoyiyana. "I felt I was "wasting away," she says. "Self-portraits were more of an escape, or a 'pretend like I am doing more than I actually am.' But after seeing the reception on the Internet, I did more."

Love Through My Eyes ran for a day on the 10th of November in Observatory, Cape Town. As a result of the amazing reception, says Ngqoyiyana, more prints of her work are on the way.

Photo courtesy of Siziphiwe Ngqoyiyana


Photo courtesy of Siziphiwe Ngqoyiyana

Photo courtesy of Siziphiwe Ngqoyiyana

Photo courtesy of Siziphiwe Ngqoyiyana

Follow Meet The Internet on Instagram and Facebook.

Video
Blinky Bill 'Don't Worry.' Source: Youtube.

Watch Blinky Bill's New Video for 'Don't Worry'

The Nairobi producer releases the humorous visuals for his second single.

Blinky Bill dropped his long-awaited debut album, Everyone's Just Winging It And Other Fly Tales, last month and it's clearly been well received by fans in Kenya and all over the world.

His latest music video for the hard-hitting single "Don't Worry" was filmed in Detroit and directed by his usual collaborators Osborne Macharia, Andrew Mageto and Kevo Abbra.

Blinky prances around Detroit's Heidelberg Project—an outdoor art installation created to support the surrounding area's community—lighting up the vibe of this aggressive song.

"The song is called Don't Worry and I feel like the vibe we created with the visuals is in tune with the spirit of the song, which is just about staying in your lane and minding your business," the Kenyan artist mentions. "I like that it takes a song that is serious and aggressive and makes it a little more fun."

This video is an instant mood-lifter and definitely worth the view.

Watch Blinky Bill's new music video for "Don't Worry" below.

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