Home > Winter School > Winter School 2021 > ARTS AND HUMANITIES > Introduction to African cinemas


Dr Litheko Modisane, lecturer, Centre for Film and Media Studies, UCT

This course introduces participants to selected narrative films from Africa by focusing on their distinctive contribution to the making and evolution of African cinema(s). It highlights major themes, forms and cinematographic styles that are unique to these films. These include how African filmmakers have created and are creating cinematographic expressions that draw primarily on indigenous traditions and intellectual currents. Without dispelling their hybrid cinematic heritage, the course foregrounds major themes such as colonialism, post-independent social and political realities, identity, gender and decolonisation. The course aims to equip participants with historical knowledge of African cinema(s), and analytical skills in the interpretation of their formal and thematic preoccupations.



1. African cinema and decolonisation: Battle of Algiers (dir. Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria: 1966)

2. Post-independent African cinema: Xala (dir. Ousmane Sembene, Senegal: 1975)

3. Magic realist cinema, environmentalism: The Burial of Kojo (dir. Blitz Bazawule, Ghana: 2018).


Recommended reading

Diawara, M. 1992. African cinema today. In: Diawara, M. (Ed.) African cinema: politics and culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 40–166.

Garuba, H. and Himmelman, N. 2012. ‘The Cited and the Uncited: Towards an Emancipatory Reading of Representations of Africa.’ In Hollywood’s Africa after 1994, (Ed.). Higgins, M. 15–34. Athens: Ohio UP.

Bakari, I. ‘Colonialism and African Lives in Modern Cinema.’ Screen 48.4 (2007): 501–505.

Faris, W.B. 2004. Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative, 133–169. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004.


DATES: Monday 26–Wednesday 28 July 2021            
TIME: 3.00 pm–4.00 pm
COURSE FEES: R225