Last Updated on May 8, 2020
The year 2020 marked the start of a new decade. The last decade saw the growth of the African film industry which witnessed the release of several blockbusters within the continent.
The introduction of streaming platforms and international collaborations have opened a door of opportunity for African movies which is made obvious in the increased quality of African movie productions.
Hence, we had a hard time choosing the best 10 African films in the last 10 years. But we believe the movies outlined below are some of the best works to come out of the African continent this past decade.
1. Viva Riva (2011) Democratic Republic of Congo
Directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, Viva Riva is a movie that showcases some of the hidden talents in one of the less-known film industries in Africa. The story follows the titular hustler, Riva (Patsha Bay), who steals a truckload of petrol from his Angolan gangster boss.
The film delivers a brilliant, enthralling narration as Riva’s plans implode in violence and things go awry when he shows up in Kinshasa with his new loot.
2. Horses of God (2012) Morocco
Nabil Ayouch’s Horses of God is one of the best film adaptations of an African book. Based on Mahi Binebine’s book, The Stars of Sidi Moumen, the film explores the fictional lives of the real-life terrorists’ behind the bombing which occurred in Casablanca in 2003. It follows four childhood friends who were recruited from the slums by Islamic fundamentalists and brainwashed into suicide bombers.
With Ayouch focusing less on the bombing and more on the reasons why the kids joined the terrorist sect, we see the desperation, powerlessness, religious influence, and neglect which affected the lives of the kids.
3. October 1 (2014) Nigeria
October 1 was globally acclaimed as one of the best movies to depict the colonial era in Nigeria and gave us a new hope about the future of the film industry in Nigeria.
The film follows Inspector Danladi Waziri who is summoned and tasked with finding a serial killer who has been murdering the women of Akote, a Town in Ibadan, before the Nigerian Independence Day on October 1st 1960.
The director, Kunle Afolayan went on to win several accolades for the film including the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Nigerian Film in 2015.
4. Beats of the Antonov (2014) Sudan
The movie isn’t a typical war film as its main focus is the role music played in helping the people in the affected communities sustain themselves despite the ongoing conflict.
5. The Wound (2017) South Africa
Inxeba (The Wound) is a South African movie that talks about themes of same-sex love and the toxicity of the black African masculinity. The movie blends it all with the traditional rites of ritual indoctrination of boys to men carried out by the Xhosa tribe of South Africa.
The movie caused a lot of controversies when it was announced due to its subject matter of same-sex relationships which is frowned upon in South Africa, prompting protests and lawsuits against the movie. But all these didn’t deter it from being released. The movie was directed by John Trengove.
6. Rafiki (2018) Kenya
Rafiki is a Kenyan movie by Wanuri Kahiu, which depicts the same-sex attraction between two young women, namely Kena and Ziki, who amidst their family strife and political pressures against LGBT in Kenya, keep their love affair a secret.
7. Timbuktu (2015) Mauritania
Directed by one of the most recognizable faces in African cinema, Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu focuses on the traumas that come with the impact of Islamic radicalization in the ancient Malian city.
The movie is set in 2012 when the militant Islamic group, Ansar Dine, occupied the capital city during the Malian Civil War and disrupted a cattle herder’s quiet and peaceful life.
Timbuktu won several accolades for its storytelling and is recognized globally for its superb direction and production
8. The Square (2013) Egypt
The Square is an Egyptian documentary film that takes a deep look at the political crisis that shook Egypt after the Tahrir Square protests which captured the world’s attention in 2011 and erupted into events leading to the Arab Spring.
Directed by one of Africa’s best female directors, Jehane Noujaim, The Square shows the events that led up to the protest, with themes of courage, dedication, and activism.
The film was banned in Egypt, with Noujaim herself placing herself at considerable risk of being imprisoned by the government for directing the movie
9. Félicité (2017) Senegal
The film further delves into the depression and social drama that comes with being a single mother in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
10. The Burial of Kojo (2018) Ghana
The movie focuses on Esi and her quest to rescue her father Kojo, who had been trapped in a mine by his vengeful brother.
The last 10 years has been a wonderful one for the African movie industry both in growth and in quality. Our pick represents just a few of the best movies released in the past decade. With the start of a new decade, we hope to see more African movies telling the African story brilliantly.
That’s our pick. Tell us in the comment section the African movies you think should have made the list.