Film

Okayafrica's Top 13 Films of 2013

Okayafrica selects the 10 best African films of 2013, including movies by Alain Gomis, Kenneth Gyang, Marguerite Abouet, Neill Blomkamp & Andrew Dosumnu


2013 has been an exciting year in African film. This year, nine films by directors of African origin or dealing with Africa-related themes premiered at Sundance Film Festival, including powerful shorts by Fyzal Boulifa and Frances Bodomo (whose forthcoming film Afronauts has been selected for Sundance 2014). Chadian director Mahamat Saleh Haroun and Tunisian-born Abdellatif Kechiche took films to Cannes. Haroun followed Une Homme qui Crie with GriGris , which was not quite as brilliant as his previous feature. Kechiche, however, was on the up and up, and his film Blue is the Warmest Colour made him just the second African-descended filmmaker to win Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or.

Film festivals dedicated to African film were replete with fresh, new material. At FESPACOAlain Gomis, Djamila Sahraoui and Moussa Touré took home top awards, and competitions like the AMAAs rewarded  a diverse array of films including director David Tosh Gitonga's excellent Nairobi Half Life (2012). We also caught wind of a number of exciting projects on the horizon: fantastically talented filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu is fundraising for her debut feature Free The Town, set in Sierra Leone, as is Yaba Badoe who plans to make a documentary on groundbreaking Ghanaian writer and intellectual Ama Ata Aidoo. 

Our best African films of 2013 are powerful, nuanced, formally inventive, or just downright entertaining reflections on our human, political and social condition - whether told through a dramatic, documentary or experimental lens. The films come from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Kenya, the UK and the USA. There have been some painful omissions, including Chika Anadu's B is for Boy - especially when just four of the films on the list are by African women directors. Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave was without a doubt the best film of the year, and is omitted here not because it's insufficiently African (it centers on enslaved Africans in America and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Adepero Oduye) - but because we already have it covered over on Okayplayer. Click on to see the full selection of our Top 13 Films of 2013.

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Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

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