News

Here Are 7 African Romance Films That Aren't in English

These films depict beautiful, heartwarming African romances.

Although most French African films are simply poverty porn—filled with miserabilist stories that show Africans and West Indians as child soldiers, victims of terrible wars, or people living in desolate, inhumane conditions—a few of them still show black French people for what they truly are: humans beings, and not just stereotypes.


The love is not dead, and while these aren't all in French, the following movies manage to depict beautiful, heartwarming African romances.

Here are a few of them.

Rue Princesse, an Ivorian film by Henri Duparc (1994)

The son of a middle class family living in Abidjan runs away from home and falls in love with a sex worker from Rue Princesse, one of the hotspots of the city. He decides to convince her to form a band with him.

Adieu Foulards, a French West Indies film by Christian Lara (1983)

A songwriter tries to get the woman he loves, a singer from the French West Indies, to come to a prestigious event in France, but her arrival is delayed when the financier disappears with the money.

Sexe, Gombo et beurre salé, a French TV movie by Mahamat Saleh-Haroun (2008)

When Hortense abandons her family to live with her lover, her husband has to start from the ground, and learn how to be a single parent while also trying to date again.

Madame Brouette, a Senegalese movie by Moussa Sene Absa (2004) 

A woman decides that she has had enough of men, and chooses to remain single until she dies—that is until she falls in love with a policeman who turns out to be a scammer.

Mortu Nega, a Bissau-Guinean movie in Portuguese Crioulo by Flora Gomes (1988)

A woman travels through her country to find her husband, a political resistant during the independence war. They eventually find each other, but the question still remains as to whether the couple will be able to go back to the life they had before the war.

Aya of Yop City, an animated French-Ivorian movie by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie (2013)

Set in Ivory Coast in the 70’s, this animated film follows the lives of a family and their neighbors in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as they deal with heartbreak, family issues and new relationships.

Finye (The Wind) A Malian movie by Souleymane CIssé (1982)

In a post-colonial Senegal, the daughter of a wealthy military man falls in love with a student at her university and they both get involved in a protest against the oppressive government.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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