Top 5 African Diaspora Films Currently Streaming on Netflix
by Danielle Dorsey
Earlier this year Netflix made its services available almost everywhere around the world, including the entire continent of Africa. With so much content to sift through, even the most seasoned binge-watchers will end up stumped. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the must-see African Diaspora films currently on Netflix, so that you can skip the choosing and get right down to chilling.
Set in the vibrant suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa, Ayanda (originally released as Ayanda and the Mechanic) tells the story of a 21-year-old hipster who attempts to keep her father’s memory alive through the revival of his automotive garage. Winner of a Special Jury Citation at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival, Ayanda was also picked up by director Ava DuVernay’s distribution company Array. The film serves as the breakout role for Fulu Moguvhani, who portrays Ayanda with startling compassion and beams with star power. A meditation on grief and loss, Ayanda balances its drama with the buoyancy of young love.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
You’ve likely heard of Beasts of No Nation, the war drama that wowed audiences and critics alike with its heart-wrenching portrayal of the brutalities of war. Adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name, Beasts of No Nation follows a young boy African boy named Agu, who is groomed to be the protege of Commandant, a charismatic rebel leader played by Idris Elba. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film earned international accolades despite a limited theatrical release.
Inside the Revolution: The Square (2013)
Next time you’re in the mood for a documentary, turn your attention to Netflix Originals The Square, which depicts the recent uprisings in Egypt, beginning with the revolution at Tahrir Square in 2011. Originally meant to conclude filming in early 2013, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim returned to Egypt for six additional months to film the ousting of newly elected president Mohamed Morsi. The Square shows the unbreakable spirit of young Egyptian democrats who no longer fear upheaval or disorder.
Confusion Na Wa (2013)
Confusion Na Wa is the complex, yet never convoluted story of random strangers whose stories intersect at various points over 24 hours. It’s the debut feature film from young Nigerian filmmaker Kenneth Gyang and earned him the honor of “Best Film” at the 9th Africa Movie Academy Awards. Latching onto the recently popularized Nollywood genre, life’s crude humor is on full display in Confusion Na Wa, which takes a sardonic approach in its portrayal of a city thick with tension.
Shake the Dust (2013)
With hip-hop legend Nas as Executive Producer, feature length documentary Shake the Dust is a reflection on hip hop’s worldwide influence. Released in 2013, Shake the Dust chronicles the stories of rappers, DJs, and b-boys across Uganda, Yemen, Colombia and Cambodia. Hip hop unites and uplifts them, showing how alike we are despite our individual struggles and cultural differences. Shake the Dust takes an optimistic look at parts of the world that are often portrayed as bleak. If all that remains is dust, you might as well stir it up.