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(Original movie poster for Bed of Thorns)

First All-Female Made Film in Uganda Wins Art House Prize in UK

Bed of Thorns, a movie about gender-based violence, takes home the Africa Focus Award.

This weekend saw a film from Uganda, Bed of Thorns (#Tosirika), claim the Africa Focus Award at the London Art House Film Festival. The film, directed and produced by Eleanor Nabwiso, tackles the subject of gender-based violence by weaving together the many tales of abuse within a circle of women as they prepare for their friend's wedding—not knowing that she, too, is being abused by her soon-to-be-husband. Comedian Martha Kay and media personality Malaika Tenshi made their film acting debuts to help tell the tale. The film also featured an all-female crew for the first time in Ugandan history.


In an interview with BBC, Nabwiso said, "This is the first ever all-female made movie from Uganda. That means the director of photography, the producer, the sound engineer—everyone is female." Perhaps it is due to the crew that such a nuanced film could be made about a difficult and complex subject. The film was first released in March to support the month celebrating women, but it is also intended to enact change. As Nabwiso says, "It's about time we stopped this nonsense."


Tosirika, a hashtag that accompanies the film's title, means 'don't keep quiet' in Luganda. According to Nabwiso, that is the message of the film. "We call these 'bedroom matters'—keep it in your bedroom, talk about it in your bedroom. If he's beating you in your bedroom and you come out of that door, you must smile to the world. This is wrong. Come out, speak out, tell somebody about it," she said to the BBC.

Nabwiso plans to make more films around gender-based violence and the many forms it comes in such as cyber-bullying and emotional torture. She wants to show the detail and consequences this type of violence has on society, on the psyche and on women. Check for those films in the future and watch the trailer for the award-winning Bed of Thorns (#Tosikira) below, it does contain some graphic images.


Bed of Thorns Official Trailer HD - Nabwiso films youtu.be

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Chinonye Chukwu Will Direct the First Two Episodes of HBO Max's Upcoming 'Americanah' Series

Here's the latest news surrounding the highly-anticipated limited series, starring Lupita Nyong'o, Uzo Aduba and more.

Nigerian-American director Chinonye Chukwu is set to helm the first two episodes of the upcoming limited series Americanah, starring Lupita Nyong'o.

Chukwu is the award-winning filmmaker, behind the critically-acclaimed film Clemency, which won the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, making her the first Black woman to win the award.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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