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.

Next Page
popular

Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep reading... Show less
Style

Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.