News Brief
Photo still courtesy of Foundry Communications.

Rungano Nyoni's 'I Am Not A Witch' Officially Premieres in U.S. Theaters This September

Watch the film's new trailer and view its new poster exclusively on OkayAfrica.

The BAFTA award-winning film, I Am Not A Witch, by Zambian writer and director Rungano Nyoni, is set to be released in select cities across the U.S. beginning this fall.

The film opens its U.S. engagement with a New York premiere at both Quad Cinemas and BAMcinematek on September 7 through Film Movement—a distributor of first-run, award-winning foreign and independent films.


Poster courtesy of Foundry Communications.

I Am Not A Witch is Nyoni's riveting satiric and provocative feature film debut, which tells the story of Shula, an 8-year-old girl who turns up alone and unannounced in a rural village. A minor incident leads the suspicious locals to drag Shula to a witch trial, where she is found guilty and sentenced to life at a state-run witch camp.

The synopsis continues:

There, she is tethered to a long white ribbon and told that if she ever tries to run away, she will be transformed into a goat. As the days pass, Shula begins to settle into her new community, but a threat looms on the horizon. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision –whether to resign herself to life on the camp, or take a risk for freedom.

Watch the exclusive trailer below.

"Rungano Nyoni is a unique and vastly talented new storyteller," Michael E. Rosenberg, president of Film Movement, says. "We're excited to be able to share her cinematic vision with U.S. audiences, as it also comes at a powerful time for our culture, when, at long last, women's voices and stories are playing an ever larger part both behind and in front of the camera."

Additional markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver and more will follow the New York premiere, along with digital and home entertainment released to come.

Revisit our in-depth conversation with Rungano Nyoni here.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.