Photo by Rosie Collyer

‘Aisha: Boko Haram Huntress’ Is the Story of a Fearless Female Warrior Fighting Extremism in Northern Nigeria

We speak to Nigerian journalist and director, Rosie Collyer, about documenting the personal and professional life of Aisha, the woman leading the fight against Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.

Throughout history, African women have remained on the frontlines—fighting colonialism, racism, sexism, terrorism and the long list of remaining isms face to face. This legacy, passed down from revolutionaries like Queen Amina, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Winnie Mandela, lives on today in women like Aisha "the Queen Hunter" who, as one of the few women in the Nigerian army, fights Boko Haram on the daily as she works to free captives in the Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria, and liberate her community from the perils of extremism.

Her story is the focus of a recent Al Jazeera "Witness" documentary by Nigerian journalist and documentarian Rosie Collyer, who spent a year in the region following Aisha and the Nigerian army on missions, and thoughtfully immersing herself in Aisha's personal and professional life in order to highlight her incredible bravery and champion her story.

Aisha: Boko Haram Huntress, is a 25-minute journey that presents images which challenge much of what we've seen regarding the conflict in northern Nigeria, and introduces a powerful face to represent overcoming that struggle. Aisha's experience offers a glimpse into how women around the world navigate the many facets of their lives to bring about change and, in the process, challenge limiting definitions of womanhood.

Watch the full documentary below, and read our conversation with the film's creator below, where she discusses the process of crafting her first full-length documentary, her time in Magaduri, and what it meant for her to help tell Aisha's story.

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