7 Must-See Movies that Will
Take You to Africa

A place as grand and diverse as Africa has an abundance of important stories to tell. The film industry may have only scratched the surface so far, but there’s already a number of movies out there that will widen your perspective and give you a closer look. Our list of must-watch movies set in Africa features documentaries, biopics, epic dramas and action-packed adventures, each inviting you to learn more about this majestic land, its people, their struggles and their joys.

1
Cry Freedom
1987


A few years before the fall of apartheid, Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline team up to tell us the true story of two brave activists who risked their lives to speak out against the oppressive institution. From the Academy Award-winning director of Gandhi, this critically-acclaimed film was banned in South Africa until 1991 and helped garner global support for the anti-apartheid movement. It’s a must watch for all who want to better understand one of the greatest conflicts of the modern era.

2
Children of the Light
2014


In the mid 1970s, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu rose up as one of the most eloquent and powerful voices in the anti-apartheid movement. This insightful documentary tells of his rise from educator to Archbishop, all while leveraging his position in the religious hierarchy to advocate for the rights of black South Africans. Weaving together archival footage from the movement’s most important protests and rallies, the movie gives you a rare glimpse at the ways Tutu put his life on the line for what he believed in.

3
Blood Diamond
2006


Exciting as it is thought-provoking, this Oscar-nominated melodrama takes you inside the tumultuous, conflicted world of African gemstone mining. It’s the 1990s and Sierra Leone is torn apart by Civil War. Willing to risk the danger, a South African mercenary and a Mende fisherman set out on a quest to recover a rare pink diamond that will change their lives forever. The film does not hold back in showing the very brutal conditions in which much of our fine-jewelry is procured, so get ready for a new level of consciousness.

4
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
2013


Idris Elba shines in this sweeping biopic that so beautifully captures the life of one of the world’s great change-makers. Based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, the film offers revelatory insight even for those already familiar with the story, showcasing the level of patience, courage and principled dedication that made Mandela’s work possible. Meanwhile Naomie Harris performs brilliantly as Winnie Mandela, sharing a depth of understanding for this fierce and fascinating activist in her own right.

5
Invictus
2009


Picking up where Long Walk to Freedom leaves off, Invictus chronicles Mandela’s efforts to unite his country through the universal language of sport. As the true story goes, the new President joins forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to try and drum up support as they make an unlikely run for the 1995 World Cup Championship. Directed by Clint Eastwood with stellar performances from Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, the movie follows the rugby team around the country as they hold coaching clinics with black youth and work towards reconciliation.

6
Winnie Mandela
2011


Fresh off the heals of her Oscar win, Jennifer Hudson takes on the challenging role of Winnie Mandela in this portrait of a powerful and controversial woman. More than just an epic love story, the film examines the events that inspired Winnie to dedicate her life to social change and find a kindred spirit in Nelson Mandela. Get to know the revolution’s most famous female as she copes with shifting public perceptions, endures harsh imprisonment and stands strong throughout her husband’s 27-year imprisonment.

7
Ayanda
2015


From South African writer/director Sara
Blecher comes the inspiring story of a young woman’s journey to save her late father’s auto repair shop. The critically-acclaimed movie aims to show a side of Africa beyond war and politics, introducing you to a 21-year-old artist and her vibrant Johannesburg community. Actress Fulu Mugovhani emerges as a total star among an altogether fabulous ensemble cast in a movie that plays every emotional note, from humor to love to frustration, grief, struggle and triumph.

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