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'Whispering Truth to Power' is an Important Documentary for Women's Month

The award-winning documentary featuring former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, reminds us of the true spirit behind South Africa celebrating women during August.

August is Women's Month in South Africa. Filmmaker Shameela Seedat's award-winning 2018 documentary, Whispering Truth to Power, is the perfect way for South Africans to not only celebrate Women's Month but to also remind them why the country even celebrates it in the first place.


Women's Day, which is celebrated on August 9th, commemorates the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1950 in protest of the "pass laws" that had been introduced by the then Apartheid government. Women's day has always been an honoring of the spirit of protest, resolve and courage displayed by South African women in their fight for the liberation of Black South Africans, vastly different from what it has become nowadays.

What better way to honor the spirit of protest and liberation than to watch Seedat's Whispering Truth to Power? The documentary follows the last year of Thuli Madonsela's last year in office as the country's Public Protector. It details how she took on former President Jacob Zuma in a battle that brought to light how Zuma had misappropriated R246 million (USD 16 million), all of which was taxpayers' money, on upgrades to his personal home in Nkandla. Madonsela's work was instrumental in South Africans calling for Zuma to step down and demanding that he #PayBackTheMoney.

Over the years, and understandably so, there has been growing criticism around South Africa failing to protect its women throughout the year and then launching into an abrupt and often pretentious celebration of women during a single month. With alarmingly high femicide, rape and domestic violence statistics, South African women have pointed out that much more needs to be done to actively address the challenges facing women in the country, significantly more than just bouquets of flowers and endless posts on social media.

Watch the trailer for Whispering Truth to Power below. You can also stream the full documentary on Showmax.

Hot Docs 2018 Trailers: WHISPERING TRUTH TO POWER www.youtube.com

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories. Read on for the conversation, and stream Dhalinyaro here.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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(Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Blitz the Ambassador Named 2020 Guggenheim Fellow

The Ghanaian artist and filmmaker is among 175 "individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, also known as Blitz the Ambassador has been named a 2020 Guggenheim fellow.

The musician, artist and director behind he critically acclaimed film The Burial of Kojo, announced the news via social media on Thursday, writing: "Super excited to announce I've been awarded the Guggenheim 2020 Fellowship. Truly grateful and inspired."

He is among 175 scholars, "appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation's ninety-sixth competition," says the Guggenheim.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

6 South African Podcasts to Listen to During the Lockdown

Here are six South African podcasts worth listening to.

South Africa has been on lockdown for almost two weeks as a measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and it looks like the period might just get extended. If you are one of those whose work can't be done from home, then you must have a lot of time in your hands. Below, we recommend six South African podcasts you can occupy yourself with and get empowered, entertained and informed.


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