15 acclaimed African films to stream right now

2017-09-02 08:00

Cape Town - With the brightest stars in the African cinema universe on the line-up, Showmax and Netflix are home to some of the continent’s most celebrated films.

1. Kati Kati: Kenya (Showmax)

Mbithi Masya’s multi-award-winning debut feature is about a young amnesiac who wakes up in the middle of the wilderness. She makes her way to Kati Kati, a nearby lodge, where she meets a motley crew of residents under the leadership of Thoma (Elsaphan Njora). As Kaleche strikes up a quick and intense friendship with him, she discovers that there’s a lot more to Thoma and the mysterious Kati Kati. The film has been screened at over 40 festivals globally, was named Best East African Film at the 2017 Africa Movie Viewers Choice Awards, and has won a slew of international cinema awards. 

2. Sinking Sands: Ghana (Showmax)

Ama K Ababrese won the Best Actress AMAA for her role in Sinking Sands. She plays Pabi, who is in a seemingly loving marriage until a domestic accident disfigures her husband Jimah. CNN included Sinking Sands as one of 10 Must-see African Movies of the 21st Century, and the film also took home the AMAA for Best Make-Up and four Ghana Movie Awards, including Best Picture.

3. Ties That Bind: Ghana (Showmax)

In Ties That Bind, Ababrese co-stars alongside Time 100 alumni and Nollywood star Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and four-time Image Award winner Kimberley Elise. They play women from different walks of life bound together by a similar pain: The loss of a child. The three women journey together to redemption, love, life and forgiveness as they renovate a dilapidated village clinic. The film won Best Diaspora Film at the San Diego Black Film Festival.

4. I Sing of a Well: Ghana (Showmax)

Leila Djansi’s debut feature (she also wrote and directed Ties That Bind and Sinking Sands) is a period drama about Soraya and a hunter, Dume, betrothed to each other but threatened by slave raiders, the Mali Empire of Mansa Musa, and the unwanted attention of their prince. I Sing of a Well won the BAFTA Los Angeles’ 2011 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) Choice Prize, as well as AMAAs for Sound and Costume Design.

5. Of Good Report: SA (Showmax)

In a rural town, an introverted teacher becomes attracted to and starts having an affair with a student. Things quickly go bad in this tense South African film noir thriller. This film, nominated for 13 AMAAs and winner of seven SAFTAs, was slated to open the Durban Film Festival in 2013 but was banned before it got there. (The ban was overturned, and it's been declared suitable for viewers aged 16 and over.)

6. The Virgin Vegan (short film): SA (Showmax)

Thato returns from studies overseas with a new eating lifestyle: She's a vegan! But her friends and family in Polokwane don't quite understand, in this hilarious short comedy film.

7. Unomalanga and the Witch (short film): SA (Showmax)

A friendship between a woman new in town and a woman scorned as a witch turns into something much deeper as they grow closer in this riveting drama.

8. The Groom’s Price (short film): SA (Showmax)

Meme wants her boyfriend of nine years to propose! But he can't afford the lobola yet, so she turns the tables and decides to pay a Groom's Price for him!

9. Moseto (short film): SA (Showmax)

Years after her mother was killed for being a witch, Fhulufhelo returns as an unknown woman to plot her revenge against the killers in this edge-of-your seat thriller.

10. God Grew Tired of US: USA (Showmax)

While not strictly an African movie, this documentary does deal with an African crisis: The Sudanese genocide. Find out how the Lost Boys of Sudan, who trekked across the African continent on foot, came to grips with living as refugees in the United States. Narrated by Nicole Kidman.

11. Die Wonderwerker: SA (Showmax)

Eugène Marais, well-known but enigmatic poet, arrives on the Van Rooyen farm on the verge of death. While he’s healing, he falls in love with teenaged Jane.

12. Road to Yesterday: Nigeria (Netflix)

Victoria and Izu’s marriage in on the rocks at the outset of this romantic Nollywood drama, but they’re forced to go on a roadtrip together to get to a relative’s funeral. Through a series of flashbacks, we find out where their relationship went wrong, and they search for a way to mend the cracks.

13. Veve: Kenya (Netflix)

This crime thriller is set against the backdrop of the veve trade in Kenya. Veve, known also as khat or Bushman’s Tea, is a drug made from the stems and leaves of the chat tree, and it’s big business in Kenya. Amos, an ambitious wannabe MP, is heavily involved in the trade, and when he decides to mess with Wadu, a big-city crime boss, his plans are likely to be derailed … and things get even worse for Amos when Kenzo, an ex-convict with an axe to grind, comes to town.

14. The Wedding Party: Nigeria (Netflix)

This wild romcom is about the preparation for a lavish wedding that is on the brink of descending into chaos, with the bride and groom’s mothers at each other’s throats, a sexy ex bent on revenge, a best man running around with a flash-stick full of secrets, bridesmaids ready to declare war on one another, and a very insecure, inexperienced bride at the centre of the storm. It’s not only a fun movie: It was also an Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.

15. Fifty: Nigeria (Netflix)

In this massively popular Nollywood film, four women approaching the age of 50 take stock of their lives over the course of a week. They’re all at the pinnacles of their careers, living in the most enviable suburbs of Lagos and adept at juggling their families with their social lives and work … but what if they’d done things differently? 

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