Africa is a giant continent where countless events, activities, and moments occur. Some of these moments have been documented in film. Below, you will find our top ten favourite African documentaries.
Virunga is an Oscar-nominated documentary about rangers who are risking their lives to save one of Africa’s national parks.
The fighting in Eastern Congo that has been raging puts Virunga National Park in danger. The park is home to many species of endangered mountain gorillas as well as other wildlife. Not only are the rangers at loggerhead with poachers but rebels also. They want to sell off the national park to multinationals who are after minerals.
Not only does this documentary show what the people of Congo are facing but also the impact of the war there. This is one of the best African documentaries that depicts just how much the continent suffers from exploitation.
The Square (2013)
The Square is an Emmy-Award winning Netflix documentary by famous Egyptian-American Jehane Noujaimfilm. It’s an African documentaries that shows sheer resilience and the power of the people.
This documentary relieves what happened in Egypt in 2011. As the wave of uprisings swept through the Arab nations, life-changing events occurred in Egypt. Encouraged by what was happening in other Arab nations, Egyptians began protests that eventually led to the collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s government.
Moreover, it also documents the overthrow of the fifth president, Mohammed Morsi that took place in 2013.
God Grew Tired of Us (2007)
God Grew Tired of Us is a heart-wrenching documentary that shares the story of four boys from Sudan. After years of toiling and wondering across Sub-Saharan Africa in search of a haven, they embark on a journey to America.
The producer, Christopher Dillon Quinn takes you through an emotional rollercoaster. The four boys move from a refugee camp to a new environment with a new culture. This is among the best African documentaries that will leave you appreciating what you have in life.
The Pearl of Africa (2016)
Directed by Jonny Von Wallstrom. The Pearl of Africa is a documentary that follows Cleopatra Kambugu, a transgender woman in Uganda. In this piece, they explore the perceptions that come with gender identity in the country.
The documentary puts out there an eye-opening story of resilience, courage and acceptance. Additionally, it shows a story of acceptance and self-determination and the hardships queer people face in Africa.
Mandela, My Dad and Me (2015)
This documentary follows the path of Ghanaian-Sierra Leonean actor as he takes a journey of self-discovery while he makes the album Mi Mandela in Mali and South Africa.
It’s a feel-good documentary that shows you a lot of things that go behind the scenes. Daniel Vernon created this film.
Omo Child (2015)
The Ethiopian documentary by John Rowe tells a tale of the Omo Valley where kids are killed. This is an ancient tradition that is known as Mingi. The killing of children is meant to protect the tribe’s people from evil.
Despite this tradition, the documentary shows a young man’s resilience and will at trying to change this practice. the young man tries to change this by adopting the kids and education. However, going against ancient tribal superstitions is not easy.
Democrats is an award-winning documentary that tells a story of Zimbabwe. Through Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora, director Camilla Nielson gave viewers an avenue through which they could see Zimbabwean politics.
Two bureaucrats come together and are forced to come up with the country’s constitution. All this was after the 2008 elections that the late long-serving Robert Mugabe won.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
This documentary lays bare the orderly account of the late Simone. She was a musician who was also fought for social justice. The Liberian was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and in the fight against equality and justice in her native nation.
The documentary takes you to step by step and through thick and thin. The career of this musical icon had so much. Additionally, the documentary also gives you first-hand information from people close to Simone. This includes her daughter, Lisa Celeste Stroud as well as excerpts from American civil rights heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin and so many more.
Searching For Sugar Man (2012)
This documentary gives you the full story of Rodriguez, one of the greatest 70s rock icons who never was. The story will leave you in awe.
Rodriguez was known as the “South Africa’s Elvis”. During the Apartheid regime and the ensuing political melee, Rodriguez’s music guided people during this period. However, the discontent followed by isolation made it impossible for a word to spread to the US.
Two die-hard fans set off to find what happened to an icon that changed and inspired an entire nation. This is among the best African documentaries from South Africa.
Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped By Boko Haram (2018)
The militant group Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in Nigeria and their impact has been felt.
This documentary looks at the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnapping by Boko Haram in 2014. 100 Chibok girls were taken to the Sambisa Forest. Some of the girls were released in 2017 but many more are still missing.
The documentary shows you what the girls went through and what they are doing now amid all the horror and trauma. Moreover, the documentary shows how the political situation in Africa is dire and is affecting so many people especially women.
These are just but a few of the incredible documentaries that have been made on the continent.