Share in the personal and intimate stories of people from around the world whose identities are often shaped by their surroundings. A diverse range of films reminds us that although issues of identity are not always within one’s control, the ability to share stories and be heard can still make an impact.

The films this month include deeply personal stories, from the women of Northern Ghana whose futures can be determined by the way a chicken dies (The Witches of Gambaga), to the powerful Voices of El Alto thatopens with a young woman sharing her story for the first time with the impersonal camera.

In Gareth’s Story, a young man tells his personal story of pain and love as a gay man in Lesotho and Going Up the Stairs shares the story of Akram, an illiterate 50 year old Iranian woman who became a painter unexpectedly when her young grandson asked her to work on a drawing.

These and other deeply personal stories can be seen on AfriDocs, every THURSDAY at 19:55 Central African time (GMT + 2) on [ED] DStv Channel 190 & GOtv Channel 65 across sub-Saharan Africa. Repeats on Fridays and Sundays. For all film and scheduling information, visit or

7 July

Disruption 60 | Pamela Yates | Latin America | 2014 | 60 min

A band of Latin American activist economists sets out to change their region, partnering with women marginalized by poverty to challenge accepted notions on how to eradicate inequality. Through this program, the women become empowered economic and political agents in their communities. If the model is taken to scale, could 20 million women upend a continent?

Movies That Matter Festival 2014

The Witches of Gambaga | Yaba Badoe | Ghana | 2010 |55

In Northern Ghana a woman’s future can be determined by the way a chicken dies. Here it takes little more than an accusation and a dubious ceremony to establish that a woman is a witch. The result is devastating: they are expelled from their communities and with nowhere else to turn, must take refuge in the ‘witches’ camps’. Painful experience and insight come together to create an intimate record of the lives of women ostracized from their communities. Their incredible stories bring home the astonishing reality of modern day witches.

Winner, 2010 Black International Film Festival Best Documentary Award

14 July

Mercy Mercy | Katrine Riis Kjær | Ethiopia, Denmark | 2012 | 94 min

At first sight, adoption seems like a win-win situation: a poor orphan gets some loving parents and a good life. But the world of adoption is a question of supply and demand, with Ethiopia as a chief supplier of thousands of needy children. The fact that the well-being of the child is not always top priority becomes painfully clear in this tragic story about Masho and her little brother Roba.

Prix La Trois, Millenium Festival 2014

WP Shorts: Finding Josephine, Mama Illegal, A Girls Day

21 July

Omo Child | John Rowe | Ethiopia | 2015 | 90 min

In Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, children are being killed horrifically under an ancient tradition known as ‘mingi’. Teeth growing in a certain order can bring a child a death sentence. One young tribesman strives for change through education and adopting the cursed children. But challenging tribal superstition isn’t easy and as he battles to save lives, things are not all that they seem.

Social Impact Media Award – Jury Ethos Award 2016

Plus Mother at Fifteen | STEPS | Malawi | 2015 | 14min

Mariam became a mother at the age of 15. Like so many other underaged mothers in Malawi, she was forced to drop out of school and struggles to make ends meet. This participatory short film shows how Miriam discovers film making and uses it to engage with her community, peers and mother.

Gareth’s Story | STEPS | Lesotho | 2015 | 11 min

Gareth, a young gay man, takes us back to the street where he was assaulted. Some of his peers express strong homophobic views, and it is only at home where Gareth finds love and acceptance from his sister.

28 July

Voices of El Alto | Benjamin Oroza | Bolivia | 2013 | 49 min

A tent is pitched on the market square of El Alto, the Bolivian city perched 4,000 meters above sea level. The filmmakers ask random passersby to tell a personal story for the camera. The film opens with a young girl half giggling, half crying as she describes a very unpleasant experience. It seems that the impersonal camera has become the first confidant she has had for a long time. It’s a confronting first scene, but at its core it’s representative of what is to follow.

IDFA 2013

Going Up the Stairs | Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami |2011 | Iran | 52 min

Akram is an illiterate 50 year old Iranian woman who became a painter unexpectedly when her young grandson asked her to work on a drawing; that simple act tapped into an explosion of powerful, primitive and colorful paintings, which she hid under the carpet from possibly disapproving eyes. She finally tells her Western educated children about her work and they arrange for her to have an exhibition in far-off Paris. The only hitch in this plan is that Akram must obtain permission from her husband – who she married when she was 8 and he was in his 30s – in order to attend.

Best Documentary Award, 2013 Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, USA

AfriDocs screens every THURSDAY at 19:55 Central African time (GMT + 2) on [ED] DStv Channel 190 & GOtv Channel 65 across sub-Saharan Africa. Repeats on Fridays and Sundays – or