‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ is out on Netflix – to rave reviews! I’m thrilled to see fellow Malawians sympathetically represented with depth, dignity, humour and agency – something that was often lacking in most mainstream movies about Africa.
Is this the onset of a new genre, that ‘refreshes’ the way the world views Africa prompted by the telling of true stories of everyday African heroes doing extraordinary things against the odds? Goodness knows there are plenty of those stories!
I read an interesting article about how Netflix’s strategy is shaping preferences through the content it pushes, creating buzz by pushing certain films to its subscribers, who can act as tastemakers. So today I’m playing tastemaker and whole-heartedly recommending these true-life gems from Africa. Enjoy!
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
The heartwarming true story follows young William Kamkwamba who loves school more than any child should as he teaches himself to build a windmill to save his community from famine. Written, directed and co-starring by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The Queen of Katwe
Bolstered by a devoted mentor played by David Oyewolo, fiesty 9-year-old Ugandan girl Phiona Mutesi takes aim at becoming a chess champion and boldly blazes a trail.
The First Grader
The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford. Co-starring Naomie Harris.
The African Doctor
The true story of Seyolo Zantoko who transplanting his family to a small French village, where culture shock sets in for everyone. Co-starring Aïssa Maïga, who is my one to watch.
The gripping true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. Co-starring Sophie Okonedo & Don Cheadle.
Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era. Starring Sophie Okonedo, who also brilliantly played Winnie Mandela in ‘Mrs Mandela’ in another biopic.
Set in Ethiopia, a young lawyer travels to a village to represent Hirut, a 14-year-old girl who shot her would-be husband as he was practicing one of the nation’s oldest traditions: abduction into marriage.