Mama Africa

Country: United States
Year: 2002
Running Time: 78 min
Language: English

Mama Africa, hosted by rapper/actress Queen Latifah, combines three short films, directed by African women, telling tales of misguided youth in contemporary Africa. These three 26-minute films were selected from a longer program of six such films produced by the African companies Zimmedia and M-Net.

Uno’s World
Director: Bridget Pickering
Country: Namibia
Running Time: 26 min

Uno, a beautiful, but weary 25-year-old single mother, is forced to face overwhelming responsibilities after falling in love with a man who does not want commitment.

Hang Time
Director: Ngozi Onwhura
Country: Nigeria
Running Time: 26 min

Departing from the obvious interpretation of the MAMA AFRICA project, Hang Time tells the heartbreaking story of a young, poor but talented West African basketball player whose desperation to wear the right shoes to impress an American basketball scout ends in tragedy.

Raya
Director: Zulfah Otto Sallies
Country: South Africa
Running Time: 26 min

The title character, Raya, is a smart but troubled young woman who has just been released from prison after several years. Raya goes to the home of her mother, Salaama, a devout Muslim, who has been taking care of Raya’s daughter, Madeegah. An independent modern woman unable to live by her mother’s rules, Raya takes Madeegah away, telling Salaama, “You’re not going to keep her under a veil all her life.” But when Raya finds herself unable to get a job because of her criminal record, she’s tempted to return to crime to provide for her daughter.

 

The short films featured in the original Mama Africa series but not included in the anthology:

A Close-Up on Bintou
Director: Fanta Régina Nacro
Country: Burkina Faso, France
Running Time: 26 min

An African woman wants to send her daughter to school despite her family’s resistance.

Riches
Director: Ingrid Sinclair
Country: Zimbabwe
Running Time: 26 min

Riches was inspired by the writer Bessie Head. It follows the flight of a coloured teacher, Molly McBride and her son Peter, from apartheid South Africa to an isolated school in Zimbabwe. She finds life tough and the villagers hostile and conservative. Molly’s clash with the hypocritical headmaster leaves her jobless and in despair, but a simple gesture of friendship from one of the poorest members of the community inspires her to fight back and claim her place within her new society.

One Evening in July
Director: Raja Amari
Country: Tunisia
Running Time: 26 min

One Evening in July unfolds the battle between the society morals of a sixty year old bridal beautician and her empathy for a reluctant bride, who is plotting to murder her groom.