The unfortunate Covid-19 pandemic riddling the world has necessitated the shutdown of cinemas, or any avenue for public gathering, and for good reason. This has seen everyone turn to streaming platforms for content. And while Netflix has become synedochial with the idea of streaming movies, boasting increments in subscriptions per week, viewers looking for African movies to pass the time may want to check out other platforms boasting an equally rich array of content.
SHOWMAX, for one, has a plethora of some of the best African films made by Africans. This strong collection shouldn’t be surprising as the streaming platform is a subsidiary of the South African company, Multichoice.
The following are some of the best African films available on Showmax:
- 93 Days (2016) –Nigeria
As the world fights to curb the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic, now is a good time to draw strength and hope from this biopic that details the efforts of Nigerian health workers who put their lives at risk in the valiant fight against the Ebola Virus. At the forefront of this battle was Doctor Ameyo Adadevoh who unfortunately lost her life in the process. 93 Days is directed by Nigerian filmmaker, Steve Gukas, and features strong performances from the likes of Bimbo Akintola, Somkele Idhalama, and Gideon Okeke.
- Inxeba: The Wound (2017) –South Africa
John Tengrove’s debut film explores Xhosa’s grisly culture of initiation into manhood, toxic masculinity and internalized homophobia through the lives of three gay men. This film caused some controversy at its release, due to its gay theme and supposed desecration of the Xhosa manhood initiation culture. The film, however, was critically well received, getting screened at prominent film festivals worldwide like the 2017 Sundance International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. It was also South Africa’s entry for the then Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards.
- Nairobi Half Life (2012) –Kenya
Kenya’s first submission to the Oscars, it tells the tale of Mwas (Joseph Mearimu) who has dreams of becoming an actor. First, he leaves his rural village to pursue this dream, much to the dismay of his drunkard father, and then has a chance encounter with a petty robber that ignites a sequence of events that disrupt his life in ways he’d never imagined. John Yedhmo paints the rural gangster life while exposing police corruption in Kenya.
- Of Good Report (2013) –South Africa
Noir films aren’t a staple in African cinema. In this masterful African noir film helmed by award winning South African director Jahmil T. Qubeka, an illicit romance between a high school teacher and a young student goes bad and when the student wants out, the teacher fights to maintain the status quo. The film is shot in monochrome and features minimal dialogue. In fact the protagonist (Mothusi Magano) utters no word in this film. The film is a seamless marriage of genres including romance, comedy, and horror.
- Sew The Winter To My Skin (2018) –South Africa
Jahmil X.T Qubeka’s follow up film is an almost wordless narrative about John Kepe (Ezra Mabengeza), a Robin Hood figure in 1940s apartheid South Africa. The film makes up for its lack of dialogues with striking visual imagery (albeit not with enough clarity). It chronicles Kepe’s life of stealing livestock from rich white South Africans and giving them to the starving poor black South Africans. The film racked up awards at the 2018 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and was also South Africa’s official submission to the Oscars for that year.
- Five Fingers For Marseilles (2017) –South Africa
Michael Matthews’s debut feature film, Five Fingers For Marseilles, is an allegory of South Africa’s past and present political climate told through the Western genre conventions. Tau (Vuyo Dabula), a member of the eponymous Five Fingers, returns to colonial Marseilles after fleeing police aggression two decades before and finds the town under a new threat. It screened at the Discovery Section of the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, and was the biggest winner at 2018 AMAA, winning awards including Best film and best director for Michael Matthews.
- From A Whisper (2008) –Kenya
Wanuri Kahiu’s debut feature film looks at the lives of the perpetrators, victims and survivors of the 1998 twin bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania. From A Whisper is such a moving tale rooted in father-daughter relationships and friendship inspired by a common history.
- The Lost Café (2018) –Nigeria
Nigeria’s critically acclaimed director, Kenneth Gyang, offers this supernatural tale in his sophomore feature film, about a young student Nigerian filmmaker who finds herself distraught and heartbroken in cold and unfamiliar Norway and forms an unusual friendship with the strange owner of a fantastical Café. The film scored a number of nominations and awards at the 2018 AMAA including Best Actress in a leading role for Tunde Aladese.
- Tell Me Sweet Something (2015) –South Africa
This romantic comedy by South African based Nigerian director, Akin Omotoso, is definitely the light-hearted entertainment you need through these trying times. Tell Me Sweet Something tells the story of Moratiwa (Nomzamo Mbatha), an aspiring novelist running a bookstore in the heart of Johannesburg, who overcomes the issue of incompatibility and eventually forms a romantic relationship with Nat (Maps Mopayanne), a stylish model. The film is a drift away from the more serious dramas associated with Akin Omotoso.
10.Supa Modo (2018) – Kenya/Germany
Jo ( Stycie Waweru), a sick little girl in rural Kenya combats the harsh realities of her terminal illness by imagining herself, a superhero. With help from family and her small community, this dream is actualized through guerrilla filmmaking. What Likarion Wainana presents in his debut feature film is a heartbreaking yet uplifting story on grief, family, and community. Supa Modo had its premiere at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, and was Kenya’s official submission to the 91st Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category.