Ng'endo Mukii's Film "Kesho pia ni siku" Aims To Confront Patriarchy Head-On

Kesho pia ni siku is a viral short Vimeo film about a Kenyan woman's resilience in the face of trauma, abuse, patriarchy and tragedy.

In 2020, Kenyan award-winning filmmaker Ng'endo Mukii was one of several filmmakers worldwide approached to pitch for a Vimeo series titled "Stories in Place". The focus of the series was to track how businesses were working through the pandemic. The second edition of the series focused on Black filmmakers.

Ng'endo was chosen alongside six other Black filmmakers — four in the US and two in the UK — and chose to tell a deeply personal story about her mother Njeri Mereka. Njeri is a smooth-talking, hymn-singing 67-year-old grandmother who runsKanyoko Boutiquein Nairobi, Kenya — a business she unintentionally started from the boot of her 1990 Toyota Corolla. She is also a survivor of an abusive marriage who despite personal tragedy, makes her mark in business.

Ng'endo's film is the first in the Vimeo series to get over 100,000 views (currently at 112,000 views.) The title of her film, "Kesho Pia Ni Siku" is a Swahili idiom that translates to "Tomorrow is another day."

Ng'endo Mukii is an award-winning film-director, renowned for 'Yellow Fever', her documentary-animation exploring Western influences on African women's ideals of beauty. Her films have won numerous awards, including Silver Hugo for the Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards, Best Animation at Kenya's Kalasha Awards, and the Encounters Immersive Grand Prix. She is a writer on multiple upcoming Netflix series, and works as an independent filmmaker in Nairobi.

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One-On-One With Filmmaker Isa Benn

The award-winning Canada-based filmmaker, screenwriter and playwright on her film Heal/Rage, why she takes pride in creating honest stories and suffering a "beautiful mental breakdown" during lockdown.

Though the pandemic-induced lockdown hurled many of us into the unknown — mostly leaving us at war with our mental health — it can be said that some good projects came out of this isolation period.

In early 2020, nine filmmakers isolating in various parts of the world came together for a collective experiment. Scattered across different parts of the world, the team of female filmmakers each worked on short films that formed part of the anthology One(Nine) — a nine-chapter project of perspectives and experiences — real, unreal, fiction, non-fiction and everything in between.

The team included Canada's Ingrid Veninger, Mina Shum, Isa Benn and Slater Jewell-Kemker, as well as Dorothee Wenner (Germany), Shengze Zhu (China/USA), Carmen Sangion (South Africa) and Lydia Zimmermann (Spain). One(Nine) premiered digitally at Canada's Female Eye Film Festival that ran from March 12 to 29.

Below, Isa Benn muses over her film Heal/Rage, a poignant tale that encourages healing in all its entirety.

What was your motivation for telling this particular story?

My family is spread out. The premise of the film is that I am on a phone call with my mum and grandma. My grandmother lives in Mombasa, Kenya with her sister. My mum is North and West African, so she lives in different parts of the continent as well. I visit at least twice a year, but this time, I couldn't visit due to the pandemic. The phone became a central part of our conversations. I noticed how lonely the women in my family were during this time. Doing my routine check-ups, touching base with them to see what and how they were doing became very centering. I started feeling like I was their parent. The men in my family are very sensitive, tender and sentimental. The women are very hard, strong, extremely opinionated and talk a lot to each other about everything.

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