Five African film gems from 2016

From Queen Of Katwe to A United Kingdom, Taku Mukiwa looks at five of the best films made in or about Africa from 2016.
Rosamund Pike (Ruth) and David Oyelowo (Seretse) in A UNITED KINGDOM

Rosamund Pike (Ruth) and David Oyelowo (Seretse) in A UNITED KINGDOM

‘Snuggle up on the sofa’ season is upon us and what better way to enjoy it than to watch some of the best African film gems, made in or about Africa in 2016?

A United Kingdom

This African film was directed by Amma Asante and follows the love story between Botswana’s first black president, Seretse Khama, and his white British wife, Ruth Williams.

Based on the book Colour Bar: the Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation by Susan Williams, it explores the extraordinary extent to which the British Government, in collusion with the Apartheid Government of South Africa, family friends and church figures tried to prevent their marriage.

A United Kingdom stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike and was released on 25 November in UK cinemas. 

Gidi Blues

This African film gem from Nollywood is beautifully shot and showcases Nigeria’s Lagos in all its vibrancy.

Produced by celebrated film-maker Femi Odugbemi, the film tells the story of Akin, a privileged playboy who meets the beautiful Nkem, who challenges his view of the world. The film stars Gideon Okeke, Hauwa Allahbura, Tina Mba, Daniel Lloyd, Buki Wright, Lepacious Bose, Banky W and Nancy Isime.

One of the best from Nollywood without a doubt – you’ll love it. 

Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe

Featuring the Hollywood stars David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o, this African film is a celebration of the amazing story of Phiona Mutesi, one of Uganda’s top chess players. Phiona’s story is an inspiration to many and is an especially empowering story for girls in Uganda.

The film takes you through Phiona’s introduction to chess and shows how her determination, and the support from her family and community, enabled her to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

Queen of Katwe marks the debut of actress Madina Nalwanga, who plays Phiona, and is something to watch with a cosy warm drink – hot chocolate with marshmallows maybe?


This mystery-thriller, featuring Beninese songstress Angélique Kidjo in her screen debut, will keep you on the edge of your sofa.

The story is about five top executives who are selected from across Africa to compete for the role of CEO in a multinational telecommunications firm. During the week-long retreat to determine who is most suitable, mysterious circumstances lead to two of the wannabe executives becoming prime suspects in a grisly crime.

The CEO is by the celebrated Nigerian director, producer and actor Kunle Afolayan. 


This African film explores the story of Solomon Mahlangu who was part of the ANC military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), during the fight against apartheid. Mahlangu was influenced by the Soweto student uprising against the imposition of Afrikaans in education.

Directed by award-winning South African cinematographer Mandla Dube, the film comes at a poignant moment for South Africa as students have been protesting about reforms to education. If you love South African cinema, make time for this.

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Taku works at Terrence Higgins Trust as a Health Improvement Specialist. Originally from Zimbabwe, he has a keen interest in African affairs.

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