From lesbian love stories to documentaries about South African queer love, here is a list of LGBTQ+ films to watch for Pride month.
Historically, LGBTQ+ films have never been in the mainstream in countries around Africa, mainly because of the intolerance of the various film industries around the continent.
However, over the past decade, there has been progress, with significant representation of LGBTQ+ people on screen. These examples come mostly from independent filmmakers within several countries in the continent. But it hasn't been easy. Throughout Africa, there have been laws that not only ban these films but put a jail term that punishes the filmmakers who have put efforts to produce a nuance story of the lived experiences of queer people in films.
To celebrate the efforts of these filmmakers and to acknowledge these thought provoking stories that are inspired from the realities of LGBTQ+ individuals, OkayAfrica put in a list on the 10 LGBTQ+ films to watch for Pride month.
Braids on a Bald Head (2010)
Braids on a Bald Head is an award-winning Nigerian film directed by Isahaya Bako. It tells the story of a submissive wife who does everything for her husband. But having a new neighbor, who is much different from her, begins to change her perception. When things in her marriage get sour, she finds the strength to ask for better treatment after an experience that makes her question her sexuality.
Difficult Love (2010)
Zanele Muholi’s power as an artist and activist is beyond this planet. Difficult Love introduces us to Muholi’s life, while capturing the lives of several Black lesbians and their lived experiences in South Africa.
Coming out of the Nkuta (2011)
Coming out of the Nkuta tells the tale of a Cameroonian defense attorney who boldly defends arrested queer folks. The heartbreaking documentary speaks about the situation in Cameroon and the LGBTQ community who live in great fear.
Stories of Our Lives (2014)
Created by an art collective in Nairobi called The Nest Collective, Stories of Our Lives details the lived experiences of queer people in Kenya. The movie is an anthology that features five short films.
While You Weren’t Looking (2014)
While You Weren’t Looking aligns queerness with race and speaks on the struggle of queer women in South Africa. Twenty years after apartheid, two lesbian couples who live in Cape Town get separated. While they explore their different lives apart, their adopted daughter gets caught up in her own world, exploring her bi-sexuality. Her dilemma? She isn’t black enough — something her girlfriend helps her navigate.
Reluctantly Queer (2016)
Akosua Adoma Owusu's Reluctantly Queer, an eight minute short film, tells the story of a young Ghanaian man who struggles to keep two personal-contrasting factors balanced: his love for his mother and his sexuality.
The Wound (2017)
Directed by John Trengove, The Wound is a powerful movie that navigates masculinity. The movie is centered around a group of young boys from South Africa who get sent to a rural, remote camp where they will be initiated into manhood, in various ways.
We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2018)
We Don’t Live Here Anymore centers on two teenage boys who are caught in a romantic scandal that turns into tragedy. The film shows the reality of the class divide that exists in Nigeria and the capitalist hypocrisy that is accompanied with it.
Ìfé is a fascinating film that shows the intimacy between two queer women. The movie uses dialogue to tell the story of two women navigating a homophobic society. Written and directed by Uyaiedu Ike-Etim — and produced by Pamela Adie — the 37- minutes film communicates love and family.
Country Love (2022)
Wapah Ezeigwe's Country love is a story about two men who, after years of being apart, rekindle their love. But everything doesn’t go as planned. In the end, one is wafting for continuity, the other pirouettes away because of societal perception towards queerness. The film is a joyful celebration of the femme identity and communicates themes like departure, homophobia and the frill of belonging.