Image supplied by MultiChoice.

Late actress Menzi Ngubane received

2021 SAFTAs Winners, Snubs and Surprises of the Night

The River lead Sindi Dlathu, once again, scooped the 'Best Actress' nod, while Menzi Ngubane was honoured with a posthumous 'Best Actor' award at the 15th South African Film and Television awards (SAFTAs).

This year's 15th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), which took place this past weekend, were absolutely riveting. The annual award show has grown since the inclusion of shows from streaming platforms such as Showmax and Netflix, which are pitted against traditional silver screen shows. However, the fierce competition has proven that local productions still have a loyal audience, and that South Africa's international audience is lapping up all the juicy plots. Netflix's How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding was the biggest winner of the night after bagging six awards. Previous all-round winner The River followed closely with its lead actress and co-executive producer Sindi Dlathu scoring her second "Best Actress" award for her Lindiwe Dikana role.

Netflix's popular teen drama series Blood & Water, whose second season is in the pipeline, reigned in the "Best TV Drama" category. The "Best Actress for a TV comedy" award deservedly went to Busisiwe Lurayi, for her portrayal of the lead character Tumi in How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. The Oscar-winning environmental documentary My Octopus Teacher took the "Best Natural History And Environmental Programme" award.

The late Menzi Ngubane received the "Best Actor" nod for his final on-screen performance as nemesis Judas Ngwenya in the soapie Isibaya, which took a bow after eight seasons earlier this year. The first season of Gomora received the "Best Achievement in Directing" award under the telenovela category through public votes. However, some fans expressed their disappointment that Gomora cast members had not been recognised with SAFTA nominations for their roles, which they believed had contributed to the success of show. Veteran theatre and television actor James Ngcobo took home the "Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama" award for Queen Sono. DStv's new telenovela Legacy cleaned out the "Best Telenovela" category. Acclaimed actress Michelle Botes added to Legacy's multiple wins by taking home the "Best Supporting Actress in a Telenovela" award.

Last but not least, storytelling legend Dr. Gcina Mhlophe was conferred with the biggest title of the night — the "Lifetime Achievement Award". The award was a long-overdue acknowledgement of her on and off-screen contributions to South Africa's oral tradition of storytelling which has entertained and educated the nation for decades.

Read: The Top 2021 South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTAs) Nominees

MultiChoice (DSTV) scored a tremendous 47 awards, while first time entrant Netflix gathered an impressive 19 nods out of its total 45 nominations. The awards took on a virtual setting and were hosted by the vibrant LaSizwe Dambuza alongside radio personality Lerato Kganyakgo.

Here are some Twitter reactions to the SAFTAs which ran from Friday to Saturday night.

Below is the complete list of the 2021 SAFTAs winners:

Best Short Film

Address Unknown (Green Leaf Films Pty) Ltd)

Best Student Film

Fowl Goblin from The Animation School


Best Achievement in Directing — Telenovela

Gomora Season 1 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Thabang Moleya, Nthabiseng Mokoena, Nozipho Nkelemba and Lefuno Nekhabambe

Best Achievement in Directing — TV Soap

Binnelanders (kykNET)

Practitioners: Danie Joubert, Roché Knoesen, Riaan Meij, Charl van Biljon, Gerrit Schoonhoven & Jaco Vermeulen

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Gwydion Beynon & Phathutshedzo Makwarela

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Soap

Scandal! (E.tv)

Practitioners: Ameera Patel, Grace Mahlaba, Daryn Katz, Kelly Robinson, Mark Wilson, Nontlantla Simelane, Omphile Molusi, Rosalind Butler, Stephen Simm, Tereska Muishond, Themba Mahlangu, Myolisi Sikupela and Thomas Hall

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioner: Brendan Jury

Best Achievement in Editing – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Bongi Malefo, Edgar Sibaya, Sphiwe Nhlumayo and Ula Oelsen

Best Achievement in Sound — TV Soap/Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Ben Oelsen and Tladi Mabuya

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Trevor Brown

Best Achievement in Wardrobe — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Zandile Mncwango

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Jenny Sprawson

Best Achievement in Art Direction — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Amanda Scholtz

Best Actress – Telenovela

Sindi Dlathu, The River (1Magic)

Character: Lindiwe Dikana

Best Actor – Telenovela

Menzi Ngubane, Isibaya (Mzansi Magic)

Character: Judas Nqwenya

Best Supporting Actress – Telenovela

Michelle Botes, Legacy (M-Net)

Character: Angelique Price

Best Supporting Actor – Telenovela

Meshack Mavuso Magabane, The River (1Magic)

Character: Nsizwa

Best Actress – TV Soap

Petronella Tshuma, Rhythm City (etv)

Character: Pearl Genaro

Best Actor – TV Soap

Clint Brink, Binnelanders (kykNET)

Character: Steve Abrahams

Best Supporting Actress – TV Soap

Masasa Mbangeni, Scandal (etv)

Character: Thembeka Shezi Nyathi

Best Supporting Actor – TV Soap

Mothusi Magano, Skeem Saam (SABC 1)

Character: Tumishang

Best TV Soap

Rhythm City (etv)

Production House: Quizzical Pictures

Best Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Production House: Tshedza Pictures


Best Achievement in Directing – TV Drama

Tydelik Terminaal (kykNET)

Practitioners: Etienne Fourie and Elanie Rupping

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Drama

Housekeepers Season 2 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Portia Gumede, Duduzile Mabaso, Lufuno Nemungadi and Lidudu Malingani

Best Achievement in Editing — TV Drama

Still Breathing (M-Net)

Practitioners: Miriam Arndt and Alistair Thomas

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – TV Drama

Lockdown Season 5 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Kurt Slabbert, Jamela Vuma & Mandla Ngcongwane

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Drama

Agent (Netflix)

Practitioner: Carlu Portwig

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Drama

Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Lehasa Molloyi

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama

Trackers (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioner: Zenn van Zyl

Best Actress – TV Drama

Kate Liquorish, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Abi

Best Actor – TV Drama

Brandon Auret, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Danny

Best Supporting Actress – TV Drama

June van Merch, Sara se Geheim Season 3 (kykNET)

Character: Sara

Best Supporting Actor – TV Drama

James Ngcobo, Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Character: President Malunga

Best TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Production House: Gambit Films


Best Achievement in Directing – TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Practitioners: Lucilla Blankenberg & Lederle Bosch

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy

Black Tax (BET Africa)

Practitioners: Byron Abrahams, Lwazi Mvusi, Joshua Rous & Meren Reddy

Best Achievement in Editing – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Tessa Verfuss, Gugulethu Sibandze & Melanie Jankes

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Janno Muller, Thapelo Makhubo, Jeanre Greyling and Jonty Everton

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Martha Sibanyoni, Thabiso Senne & Savannah Geldenhuys

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sheli Masondo

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Lance Gewer

Best Actress – TV Comedy

Busisiwe Lurayi, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Tumi

Best Actor – TV Comedy

James Borthwick, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Ferdie

Best Supporting Actress – TV Comedy

Martelize Kolver, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Brenda

Best Supporting Actor – TV Comedy

Desmond Dube, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Shadrack

Best TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Production House: Community Media Trust


Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioners: Rehad Desai and Mark Kaplan

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Practitioner: Devin Carter

Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Megan Gill

Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Feature

Documentary Feature – How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Charlotte Buys

Best Documentary Feature

How to Steal a Country

Production House: Uhuru Productions

Best Documentary Short

Lindela Under Lockdown

Production House: Passion Seed Communications

Best Made for TV Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Production House: SuperSport, SA Rugby and T+W

Best Natural History and Environmental Programme

My Octopus Teacher

Production House: Sea Change Project

Best Children's Programme

Takalani Sesame Season 11 (SABC 2)

Production House: Ochre Media and Pulp Films

Best Competition Reality Show

Celebrity Mystery Box (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Brightfire Pictures

Best Structured or Docu-reality Show

Pale Ya Koša (SABC 2)

Production House: Full Circle Productions

Best Structured Soapie Reality Show

Life with Kelly Khumalo (Showmax)

Production House: Barleader TV

Best International Format Show

Hoor my, sien my, soen my (kykNET)

Production House: Afrokaans Film & Television

Best Educational Programme

Made In SA Season 6 (S3)

Production House: Ochre Media

Best Factual Programme

The Devi Show (etv)

Production House: etv

Best Current Affairs Programme

CARTE BLANCHE: Women's Month Special (M-Net)

Production House: Combined Artists

Best Variety Show

Republiek van Zoid Afrika (kykNET)

Production House: Brainwave Productions

Best Youth Programme

Africa's Biggest Brags (MTV Base)

Production House: VIS

Best Entertainment Programme

Maak My Famous – Showcase (kykNET)

Production House: All Star Entertainment

Best Lifestyle Programme

Come Again (SABC 1)

Production House: Tshedza Media

Best Made for TV Movie

Loving Thokoza (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Black Brain Pictures

Best Online Content

The Adventures of Noko Mashaba - Lockdown Shandis (YouTube)

Production House: Rams Comics

Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Jozua Malherbe

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: René van Rooyen

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Rory O'Grady

Best Achievement in Sound Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: Andries Smit

Best Achievement in Editing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Lucian Barnard

Best Achievement in Production Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Kate van der Merwe

Best Achievement in Costume Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Annie Seegers

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – Feature Film

Triggered (Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play)

Practitioners: Menio Kalymnios, Stella Kalymnios and Hannes Oosthuizen

Best Actress – Feature Film

Tinarie Van Wyk Loots, Gat In Die Muur (Hole In The Wall) (Netflix)

Character: Ava

Best Actor – Feature Film

Tshamano Sebe, 8 (Netflix)

Character: Lazarus

Best Supporting Actress – Feature Film

Tarryn Wyngaard, Stam (DSTV Box office)

Character: Samiah

Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film

Hakeem Kae Kazim, Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Character: Mambo

Best Feature Film


SCENE23 (kykNET)

Best TV Presenter (Public Vote Category)

Entle Bizana, Hectic on 3 (SABC 3)

Most Popular TV Soap/Telenovela (Public Vote Category)

Gomora, Seriti Films (Mzansi Magic)

Photo: CAMH

Amoako Boafo On Showing the World How He Wants to Be Seen

The Ghanaian artist uses his latest exhibition, a debut museum solo show, to spotlight his place -- and the place of African art as a whole -- in the world.

In recent years, African art has become very popular in galleries and museums, and across the global art market. For his solo museum debut, Amoako Boafo wanted to interrogate the space African artists could -- and should -- occupy, so he created a site-specific work that responds to the questions that get raised over hype about art from the continent.

‘Deep Pink Sofa’ shows a crossed-legged individual with a calm and confident look staring into what can be said to be a camera. Once Boafo's exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, (CAMH) where it's currently on view closes, the artwork will be disassembled, never to be featured again. Created for the moment, it has a lasting message.

"I think a lot of people talk about tables, chairs, and sofas and I think they all have the same idea about sitting and relaxing, joining the table,” Boafo tells OkayAfrica. “Whatever is happening to African contemporary art, most people think that it's just a wave and it will just vanish. But I think making that painting, for me, makes me feel like I have arrived.”

He continues: "Yes, I will talk for myself first, but I also think that we've been around for a long time. But now, we have a couch where we are comfortable. We are around, and we are not going anywhere."

The piece is one of 30 paintings created by Boafo between 2016 and 2022, featured in his exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. It's an expansion of the show that opened at San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora earlier this year.

An image of Amoako Boafo's portrait of Beyonce and Jay Z against a yellow background

The title of Amoako Boafo's exhibition is a spin on Pan-African civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois' 'The Souls of Black Folk.'

Photo: CAMH

Titled 'Soul of Black Folks,' the show is curated by cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah. The selected works highlight topics of concern that interest Boafo, including constant resistance against systemic oppression, the active combatting of anti-Black rhetoric, the commodification of Black bodies in the media, and COVID-19.

The exhibition’s title is a spin on Pan-African civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois' 'The Souls of Black Folk,' the seminal book that contains several essays on race, and examines how Black people view themselves and how the world views them. Boafo tells OkayAfrica, Ossei-Mensah "wanted to connect what [Du Bois] did as a scholar and what I am doing now as a visual artist." Of note, the American sociologist, socialist, and historian is buried in Osu, a neighborhood in the capital of Ghana, where Boafo was born and raised.

The current exhibition adds to the growing list of career milestones for arguably one of the most sought-after artists internationally.

Amoako Boafo says the exhibition shows that the depth, consistency, and maturity, as much as the color palette of his work has grown.

Photo: CAMH

The Accra-born, Vienna-based artist, who left a career in tennis to pursue art professionally, is known for his vibrant use of color and thick improvisational gestures, focusing on the complexities of Black life globally, Black joy, and the Black gaze. His Black Diaspora portraits, which consist of accentuated and elevated figures often isolated on single-color backgrounds, have made him a favorite in the art world. His paint-dipped finger's signature style -- of friends, family members, and celebrities -- crafts these works.

In 2020, he made history as the first African artist to collaborate with French Luxury house Dior on their 2021 Men's Spring/Summer collection. Three paintings of his were also launched into space aboard Jeff Bezos’ rocket ship in 2021. Adding a solo museum exhibition to his resume only solidifies his place in the art world and further fans the flame for what yet is still to come. "Having that is an amazing thing, and to be alive to experience that," he says, "but I think one museum show is not enough."

There are more spaces where Boafo wants to show and share his work. "A lot of work has to be done to have more spaces and not just institutions in Europe, but I also think showing in institutions here on the [African] continent is also something that I am looking forward to do."

The themes of Boafo's practice stem from a personal place. One of his most notable works is 'Body Politics.' It details his experiences of discrimination arising from his nationality and race when he first moved to Vienna, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. "I think the thing with discrimination and stereotype is that people have a position of what Blackness is for them, and they have a box for it" he says. "A lot of work has been done to change that perception, so I needed to do it differently because most of the time people be screaming and shouting. And I don't see anything wrong with that because that's the way they want to maybe explain or deal with the situation. In my case, I wanted them to know what I am talking about instead of complaining about how they see me. I wanted to show them how they should see me."

'Body Politics' inadvertently marked the beginning of his ascent in the art world. Some three years after his relocation to the capital of Austria, he was awarded the jury prize at the 2017 Walter Koschatzky Art Award.

Boafo is also a Ghanatta College of Art and Design alum in his home country. He won Best Abstract Painter of the Year and Best Portrait Painter of the Year in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

A 2018 discovery of Boafo's work on Instagram by African-American portrait painter Kehinde Wiley (known for, amongst other things, his portrait of the former American president, Barack Obama) kick-started the mainstreaming of him and his craft. Wiley bought a painting and became an advocate of his work by introducing Boafo to his galleries.

He has since won the STRABAG Art award International in 2019, and his works are in private and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rubell Museum, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna, where he lives.

In the light of presenting works created over the past five years in his museum debut, how would he say his craft has evolved over the years? “I think one thing which is very clear in my work is the depth, consistency, and maturity. As much as I will say that my color palette has grown,” states Boafo. “My way of playing with the tones and details have also changed. There’s more abstraction in that figuration. That’s also another growth that I am looking forward to exploring.”

“I think in general, it’s not just figuration or portraiture. It’s like, you know, all the elements – figuration, portraiture, landscape, abstraction. They are all in one element,” Boafo adds.

He will be in Ghana in December to open his artists’ residence, where he will collaborate with many artists for a group show as part of its opening. The space is for "artists to come and experiment, explore and grow with their work," says Boafo. The Deep Pink Sofa may not be there but he envisions it to be a welcoming space, nonetheless.

Image YouTube Screenshot

Burna Boy Is King of the World In New Video For "It's Plenty"

You heard the man: "Everyday party!"

Just in case you forgot how big of a global superstar Nigerian singer-songwriter Burna Boy is, his latest music video is a keen reminder. Africa's Giant has blessed fans with the accompanying visuals to hit single "It's Plenty", and what a joy it is to see someone living the life of their dreams.

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Photo: Cyrille Choupas

Alice Diop On Using Film to Center Marginalized Stories

The French director, whose latest film Saint Omer has been selected by France as its submission for the Best International Picture race, is known for her nuanced portraits of humanity.

“When I hear myself through Nicholas, I find me [sic] too radical!” French filmmaker Alice Diop jokes during our conversation, after hearing some of her words and thoughts filtered through her translator Nicholas Elliott.

Diop was responding passionately to a question about the tensions in France between holding onto assimilation policies and embracing a more modern ethos of inclusion and diversity. She is tying her argument to the radical leaning of French republicanism, which is very, very different from the conservative spirit embraced by the Republican party in the United States, where she is expected to appear in October to present her latest film, Saint Omer at the New York Film Festival.

Saint Omer marks Diop’s transition to fiction after seventeen years working as a documentary filmmaker. The film, which won the Grand Jury prize and best debut feature prizes recently at the Venice Film Festival where it debuted, is a wrenching legal drama that follows a young novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame) covering the trial of an immigrant mother accused of infanticide.

Before her triumph at Venice, Diop was in New York to promote the MUBI release of her latest documentary, We (Nous), which premiered at the 2021 Berlinale, where it won the Encounters Grand Prize. The film chronicles a disparate group of people, including an immigrant mechanic and a writer from the Parisian suburbs, and places their lives in connection to the RER B commuter train cutting through the city from the north to south. Diop makes We (Nous) a personal declaration of belonging, weaving footage from her family archive and trailing her sister, a home nurse, at work as she provides care for her patients.

Diop, who is a first-generation daughter of immigrants from Senegal had a wide-ranging chat with OkayAfrica about her films, belonging to French society, and her reasons for prioritizing the stories of the marginalized.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

In We (Nous), you are telling these seemingly unrelated stories without obvious connections. What is the common thread linking these stories or people together?

The link is a very personal vision that I have of French society. It is a vision that is at once a dreamed vision but also something already there and not many people see. It is about what can unite people who appear to be so different in a single territory or country. And in a sense, the thread is one that I am weaving myself. It doesn’t exist as such but something very subjective.

In terms of constructing the film, what was the starting point for you?

It started from the book, The Passengers of the Roissy Express published in France about 30 years ago. It is a nonfiction book in which the writer, François Maspero takes the RER B train and follows it to the last stop. This is the train that has the peculiarity of crossing all of the Paris banlieues (low-income suburbs) from north to south. Now these are very different areas that have a great diversity of populations that really express the complexity of French society. I read this book, and it gave me the framework for using the name of the train to describe these very different territories.

A still from the film, We (Nous) of train tracks.

We (Nous) chronicles a disparate group of people, including an immigrant mechanic and a writer from the Parisian suburbs, and places their lives in connection to the RER B commuter train cutting through the city from the north to south.

Photo: Mubi

At what point does your family come in and how do you weave them into the narrative?

This film is a composition of the singularities of the many different people who live and work in France, and my family is part of that history. That is why I wanted to use our family archive in the film because it is a symbolic way of inscribing these traces of my family, and people like them, who are not shown in the constitution of French society. The archive, for me, completes a missing part of French history. I have so little in terms of archives of my family. I have only less than 17 minutes of images of my mother and everything that I have is in this film. That is something very painful; the lives that my parents had were not necessarily appreciated. These were lives that were not epic or did not have the right narratives. At least that was the feeling that I had because the people that I saw on television, in films and novels were not like me. They did not have my history or background, so I grew up with that absence. And I think that is why I became a filmmaker, to repair the violence of having this unrepresented life.

In a sense, this film, and your entire career has been about adjusting this narrative?

Absolutely. This question touches me because this is at the very heart of my filmmaking. I have done this work ever since the desire came upon me to do it, as a way to not succumb to the anger. My new (fiction) film, Saint Omer is focused on Black women, and is inspired by my mother, and it made me realize how much I needed to do this. I want to add up their bodies in film and in history.

Film, for me, is not a space for entertainment, it is a space for revenge and self-care. Saint Omer is not about the banlieues at all. I believe that people from the banlieues have every right to make films that are not about the banlieues. It is about maternity, and I have every right to talk about maternity because it is a question that is relevant to Black women, as much as it is to white women. I am speaking from my own body, and I think the closer I am to myself, the more likely I am to touch other people.

In the film, you talk about not paying into the family fund that ensures you are buried back home in Senegal. Was coming to this realization difficult?

Exile is not just measured in economic gain; it is also a loss that I cannot even qualify. This relationship to the land where you will be buried, I find it a beautiful thing to choose where you are going to die. But the most concrete way of saying where you belong is to say where you are going to be buried. And for me to say it publicly the way I did was for me to cut myself off. I have a 13-year-old mixed race son who was born and lives in France. I speak French, I don’t speak Wolof. I go to Senegal twice a year at most. I am a Frenchwoman.

Now, I am a very particular kind of Frenchwoman; I am a Black woman with colonial history so the most concrete way for me to be French is to say I am going to be buried where my son lives, or where he is most probably going to live. And that’s not a choice between France and Senegal that I am making, it is a way of saying that I am in harmony with where I am. But it does separate me forever from the place where my parents came from. It is hard to think about, even in this conversation with you. It is the entire complexity that is raised here: of the path of immigrants, of the trajectories of coming and of going, of where you are. It is something that is so complex and intense that merely signifying it is already an achievement. It is also a very universal question.

A still from the film We (Nous) of the filmmaker sitting at a table with an interviewee.

Alice Diop and Pierre Bergounioux in a pivotal moment from We (Nous).

Photo: Mubi

And when you put yourself in the frame by the end of the film, are you completing this tapestry that you are sewing?

In a sense. My appearing with my Black woman’s body in the frame, next to this writer Pierre Bergounioux, in his office is a way for me to get revenge for my father for the 40 difficult years he spent working in France. There is a point in the film when I ask my father if spending these years in France has been positive or negative, and he says it’s been a positive gain overall. But I have the intuition that for his daughter to be able to go to university and do things that as a working man, and my mother as a cleaning woman, never had the opportunity to do, and then to show myself in the frame next to this white writer in the film that I am making -- that I have invited the writer to -- I think that shows something about French society and what it can allow. And that repairs, to some degree, the pain that my parents experienced by coming here to offer me a life that they could not have.

Translation by Nicholas Elliott.


The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, King Promise, Tiwa Savage, Major League DJz, and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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