Film

The First NBO Film Festival Is Well Underway Featuring the Best of Kenyan Cinema

The festival in it's first year is showcasing the likes of award winning films, ‘Kati Kati,' 'Pumzi' and more.

The NBO Film Festival aims to showcase the best in Kenyan cinema, with critically acclaimed movies from various genres including sci-fi and documentary. In it's first year, the festival will run through Feb. 5 at Prestige Plaza Cinemas and at The Elephant, in Lavington.


“We’re overwhelmed by the love and positive support the film festival has received. We’re starting small but with this kind of support and regular programming we are excited to see what the future holds,” Mbithi Masya, who is the festival's art director and KATI KATI’s award winning director, says.

There will be an option to see three short screenings around the city, where viewers will cycle to the venues as part of Goethe Institut’s Shorts on Wheels initiative. Other highlights include an evening with the Stories of Our Lives filmmakers—whose LGBT offering Kenyan censors banned in 2014.

Here are some of the titles to be screened:

KATI KATI (2016)

This futuristic film follows an amnesiac, Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga), whose arrival at the Kati Kati lodge leads her to discover a shocking truth about why she is in the middle of nowhere. This suspenseful 2016 Toronto International Film Festival pick is also the main feature at NFF.

BATTLE OF THE SACRED TREE (1994)

Mumbi (Margaret Nyacheo) walks out of an abusive marriage and heads back to her father’s house in the countryside, amidst palpable scorn by the local women. It is the imminent destruction of the sacred Mugumo tree—believed to hold mythical powers—that threatens to divide the community.

PUMZI (2010)

This sci-fi short film about the future is set 35 years after World War III in Africa, where a water war ensues. Director Wanuri Kahiu’s 2010 work won a Venice Film Festival award.

NAIROBI HALF-LIFE (2012)

This One Fine Day Films production shows Nairobi’s underbelly of crime, where a charismatic young man (Joseph Wairimu) soon finds the city of lights is not as glamorous or welcoming to aspiring actors with debts to pay.

THE LAST FIGHT (2015)

This sports documentary looks at the decline of boxing in Kenya from the 1980s up until the present day. We see how Kenya went from nurturing world class fighters, to defunding boxing clubs and ignoring contemporary champions—some of whom are struggling to survive.

MAD LOVE (2016)

Set in Limuru town, Charles (David Waronja) struggles to convince his crush, Jenifer (Lydia Manani), that he is in love and wants to court her seriously. After a lousy first shot, he enlists the help of his buddy to win her over.

NDOTO ZA ELIDIBI—DREAMS OF ELIDIBI (2010)

The film was originally a play that featured talent from Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, with the aim of addressing issues that are prevalent in slum areas including discrimination and stigma against those with HIV/AIDS. The film is shot in the Sheng and Swahili languages and follows two brothers leave the countryside for a better life in Nairobi, when hilarity ensues as they juggle family life, loyalty, love and learn to forgive.

FROM A WHISPER (2008)

Ten years after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, an intelligence officer Abu (Ken Ambani) and Tami (Corrine Onyango), an artist, connect over losing loved ones in the terror attack.

TO CATCH A DREAM (2015)

Nairobi-based visual artist Jim Chuchu (Stories of Our Lives) directs this short, featuring Kenyan supermodel, Ajuma Nasenyana. The Nest Collective and Chico Leco (the in-house fashion entity) show Nasenyana as a grieving widow experiencing nightmares and sporting local designs in different locations.

VEVE (2014)

This drama tackles political intrigue, revenge and love when a prominent politician Amos (Lowry Odhiambo) is put to task by an opponent, Wadu (Abubakar Mire) looking to succeed him as Maua Member of Parliament. Amos’s lonely wife Esther (Lizz Njagah) seeks comfort with an ex-con Kenzo (Emo Rugene), whose vendetta against Amos exposes the politician’s macabre character. It is a nosy filmmaker’s discovery that threatens to rock the community.

Josephine Opar is a Kenyan-born arts & culture writer, womanist and magazine hoarder. You can keep up with her on Twitter at @viewfinderSS.

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9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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