Film Africa comes to a close and announces winners of its annual festival awards!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Caitlin Pearson

That's a wrap for Film Africa 2018!
39 films. 18 world, EU and UK Premieres. 15 African countries. 10 visiting filmmakers and talent. Q&As, panels, live music, parties, school screenings, family activities and other special events! All of that over 10 days, across 5 London venues!

Film Africa’s 8th edition drew to a close on Sunday, 11 November, to a sold out screening of Kasala! (UK premiere) by emerging Nigerian director Ema Edosio, who was present for a post-screening Q&A with the audience.

The Closing Gala also hosted the announcement of the winners of the Film Africa awards, both of which carry a cash prize of £1,000:


The Audience Award for Best Feature Film, presented for the fourth consecutive year, went to the deeply emotional Supa Modo by first-time director Likarion Wainaina.

Selected as Kenya’s official entry to the 2019 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Supa Modo is the uplifting tale of 9 yearold Jo, a terminally ill girl whose village comes together to fulfil her dream of becoming a superhero. In response to his win, Wainaina said:

“Thank you Film Africa for the love and appreciation. I dedicate this award to everyone who has suffered loss. May you find your smile, your joy, your hope, your dream and may you find your own Supa Modo. Asante sana." 


The Baobab Award for Best Short Film, presented for the eighth consecutive year and selected by a jury of industry professionals, went to Bariga Sugar by young writer, producer and director Ifeoma Chukwuogo from Nigeria.

Set in a brothel compound in Lagos, Bariga Sugar tells the story of a tender friendship between Jamil and Ese, the children of two sex workers. In response to her win, Chukwuogo said:

"I am incredibly thrilled that Bariga Sugar was chosen to receive this award. Thank you to the esteemed jury for this honour, to the Film Africa team for including Bariga Sugar in this year’s program, and to the audience for receiving it so wonderfully."

The Baobab Award jury members – filmmakers Shola Amoo and Cecile Emeke and Talent Development Executive Matimba Kabalika – said:

"We were incredibly impressed by the humanity and warmth brought to the characters in Bariga Sugar. As a director and writer Ifeoma displayed incredible control, creating a genuinely rich tonality to the narrative. We would love to see what a feature-length piece of work would look like and hope this award supports her on that journey."


Film Africa is especially grateful to our principal partners the BFI Audience Fund, the Miles Morland Foundation and the British Council for making the festival possible. We are also very grateful to our sponsors, host venues and other key partners and to our audiences, for bringing Film Africa to life!

We would love to get your feedback so we can continue to improve Film Africa in the future. Please spare three minutes to complete this survey and we will enter you into a competition to win two festival passes for our literature festival Africa Writes 2019 (5-7 July at The British Library)!

Our Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge at a special Autumn Networking Reception

Monday, 17 September 2018
Royal African Society
Our Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge at a special Autumn Networking Reception 

We were delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of Cambridge to his first Royal African Society event on 12 September. The Duke joined our Autumn Networking Reception, held at the British Academy, attended by over 200 guests. HRH heard first-hand about the wide variety of activities the Society undertakes and chatted to many of our key partners, members and friends.

Introduced by the Society's Chair, Zeinab Badawi, The Duke gave a short speech reflecting on his passionate interest in Africa and his enthusiasm to engage with both the continent and the Royal African Society. Click to see the short video extract here:


The Duke also took part in a round-table discussion before the event about the current state of Africa, with a selected group of African and international experts. 



Vacancy at the RAS: Corporate & Public Events Officer


Job Title

Corporate & Public Events Officer


£26,000 to £28,000 (depending on experience)


Full-Time, Fixed-Term Contract (2 Years)

Reporting to

Deputy Director

Leave allowance

25 days



The Royal African Society is a membership organisation that provides opportunities for people to connect, celebrate and engage critically with a wide range of topics and ideas about Africa today. Through our events, publications and digital channels we share insight, instigate debate and facilitate mutual understanding between the UK and Africa. We amplify African voices and interests in academia, business, politics, the arts and education, reaching a network of more than one million people globally.

As a London-based membership organisation and a hub for discourse and debate, the Royal African Society organises a diverse programme of corporate and public events - from public lectures, panel discussions and debates to closed briefings, roundtables and private dinners/lunches for our corporate members and partners.

We are looking for a dynamic person with an interest in events management, a demonstrable passion for a wide range of topics pertaining to contemporary Africa, and an ability to work with a wide range of partners in the public and private sectors to be our new Corporate & Public Events Officer.


Job Description

The Corporate & Public Events Officer will be responsible for designing and implementing the Royal African Society’s programme of events. Working alongside the rest of the RAS team and under the guidance of the Director and Deputy Director, the Events Officer will research, plan and deliver a coherent programme of events and meetings to engage RAS members and the public at large throughout the year.  The role will entail the following main tasks and responsibilities:


● Research, plan and implement a year-round events programme for the RAS including corporate and public events.

● Work collaboratively with senior management and other staff including the Fundraising Manager, Africa APPG Co-ordinator and African Arguments Editor to ensure coherence across the Society’s events programming.

● Develop themes for one-off and structured series of meetings with a range of strategic, corporate and venue partners.

● Identify and secure speakers and special guests.

● Manage all events logistics, including hospitality, invitation lists, venue management, technical requirements, accessibility, and other participant needs.

● Manage the annual Corporate & Public Events Programme budget.

● Promote and market the Events Programme to current and potential new members via email and social media.

Support the organisation of Film Africa and Africa Writes (though these are primarily managed by dedicated teams).

● Maintain and update the Customer Relationship Management database (Salesforce).

● Work on set criteria to evaluate each event, keeping a log of main stats & figures

● Produce quarterly and annual reports on the development of the events programme

● Attend external Africa-focused meetings and networking events on behalf of the RAS


Person Specification (E = Essential & D = Desirable)


Experience of successfully managing and delivering events


Experience of setting and managing budgets


Experience of using a CRM database (preferably Salesforce)


Excellent communication and interpersonal skills


Excellent organisational and project management skills


Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a small team


Commitment to the values and ethos of the Royal African Society


Ability to undertake research and write succinct copy


Demonstrable interest in contemporary African issues


Confident networker and social media user



To apply, please send your CV with a covering letter outlining why you think you are suitable for this position to Sheila Ruiz at  

The covering letter should not be more than 1,000 words long and should demonstrate your suitability for the job using examples of any relevant skills and experience referring to the Person Specification above.

The closing date for applications is 5PM on Wednesday, 10th October 2018. If shortlisted, you will be notified by Friday 12th October 2018.

Candidates should have the right to live and work in the UK and must be available for interview on Tuesday 16th October 2018.


N.B. Due to the large number of applications we usually receive, we will only be contacting applicants shortlisted for an interview. 



DFID makes the right noises over Ebola lessons

Thursday, 17 March 2016
Anita Makri- SciDev.Net
The outbreak of Ebola that devastated West Africa is out of the media spotlight, and no doubt many of us have wondered what happened to all those debates over lessons to be learned. A panel discussion at the United Kingdom’s Parliament delved into this issue last week.
The event was organised by the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group to launch its report with Polygeia reviewing evidence submitted in response to an inquiry into the Ebola response last year, which included SciDev.Net's Spotlight collection.
Calling the report “genuinely useful”, Nick Hurd, the parliamentary undersecretary of state at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), highlighted two areas of interest for DFID’s activities. One is working with communities — we learned that they must be at the heart of the response, he said, and that anthropology should inform on cultural aspects of disease. Another is strengthening health systems by addressing assumptions, expectations and resource challenges.
While ministers typically only make a five-minute guest appearance at parliamentary events, Hurd’s presence was more committed. “This matters a great deal. It’s personal” he said.
His messages were echoed by members of the panel. DFID’s health advisor Susan Elden said putting better systems and structures in place is a messy and complicated job but it has to be done.
Then the discussion moved closer to the nitty-gritty, resulting in three lingering questions.
The first is about who owns the data governments and aid agencies need in crisis response. Public Health Africa Initiative chair Aliko Ahmed argued that the data should be owned by affected countries in the first place.
It’s a question that will test the nature of collaboration with developing countries.
Hurd said that DFID is focusing on improving reporting systems, while Elden pointed to ongoing discussions with the World Health Organization (WHO) on creating a sharing platform.
The second question is about good value for money. The minister said that government would prioritise putting money towards proven ways of placing community engagement at the heart of future responses.
So measuring the impact of engagement is about to become a whole lot more important. But how will the struggle to prove value and cost-effectiveness compete with other aspects of crisis response?
The third point is about how to truly learn from experience. Other epidemics — such as SARS and swine flu — taught the same lessons on crisis response as Ebola, an audience member pointed out, but we are relearning every time. How can we do better than this?
The answers from the panel were not reassuring. There was some agreement that disaster response is, by its nature, a slow and complicated process. What is important, Hurd said, is to have consensus on cumulative evidence on what’s fundamentally important for an effective response.
The bigger lesson, Elden said, is about the need to learn from the affected countries themselves. But it remains to be seen how well DFID, the WHO and others will listen. 
The report from the Africa APPG together with Polgeia is available online and to download here. An audio recording of the launch event is also available here
This blog is taken from the original blog by Anita Makri from SciDev.Net available here
(photo credit: yahoo news)

It’s the Politics Stupid – By Richard Dowden

Thursday, 30 July 2015
Richard Dowden

President Obama’s message to Africa’s rulers at the African Union in Addis Ababa today will encourage Africa’s economic growth but he will also be critical of the dictatorial tendencies that still abound in Africa’s politics. Africa, he says, needs strong institutions, not strongmen.

Never since the end of the Cold War has there been such a dearth of leadership on the continent. South Africa and Nigeria are the continent’s major powers but President Jacob Zuma of South Africa shows weak leadership at home and little interest in the rest of the continent. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, newly-elected President Muhammadu Buhari is struggling to establish a government. Continent wide, regional integration which should be driving bigger inclusive economies, has been at a snail’s pace because of lack of vision and each president’s fear of losing control.

In the early 1990s America promoted democracy, human rights and the free market to the world as the principles of global governance. The free market has taken off fast in Africa, largely because Africans have simply got on with it. African cities today are bustling and growing and trade has been at an all time high. But African rulers have never been less committed to democracy and human rights. Most countries hold elections but fewer and fewer lead to a change of government. Nigeria in April was an extraordinary exception. Respect for human rights is in the hands of the governments and respected in varying degrees.

Embarrassingly Ethiopia which hosts the African Union headquarters where Obama will be speaking tomorrow, has not a single opposition MP in its 547-strong parliament, despite being in power since 1992. The press is also very tightly controlled. The government makes no apology for its political repression but points to Ethiopia’s high economic growth rates – around 10% for the last few years – and the fact that a third of Ethiopians, about 1.5 million who were regarded as poor in 2000, are now better off.

A similar situation exists in Rwanda, another favourite of Western donors. Its government delivers health and education to its people while maintaining total control over their lives through a surveillance system that North Korea would be proud of. At least, its friends argue, they have good reason after the 1994 genocide. Elsewhere governments are increasingly rarely changed by elections and several presidents, including Rwanda’s, have removed or are trying to remove term limits from their constitutions. 

In Kenya on Sunday Obama stood next to an uncomfortable-looking President Uhuru Kenyatta. Son of the country’s first president, he heads the country’s richest family. You could see Kenyatta’s discomfort when Obama spoke of Kenya’s rampant corruption, lack of gay rights and discrimination against women. Kenyatta bluntly refused to accept gay rights and I believe most of his fellow presidents will support him.

At one time presidents like Kenyatta would have smiled meekly and obeyed. Thanks to China’s engagement in the continent, African rulers have an alternative powerful ally and can push back against US demands. The outright refusal to accept gay rights shows Africa’s growing self-confidence. China has given Africa’s rulers an alternative trading and political partner. Its engagement in Africa over the past two decades has enabled African governments to ignore or reject demands from Britain, France and the US although there are signs that Beijing is now beginning discreetly to support western demands for better governance, not least to protect their own interests in the continent.

This is a crucial time for Africa. Today it has more than a billion people. By 2050 that will have become 2 billion. Until now it has lived by exporting commodities, vulnerable to the price swings of raw materials. If it can start adding value by manufacturing and exporting, it could become the next big global economic driver. But this requires vision and leaders who have their countries’ interests at heart.

Today I expect President Obama will speak to all Africa’s presidents about better governance, term limits, human rights and democracy. He will urge them to create space for their young populations to thrive in a corruption-free market. They will give him a standing ovation but at the back of their minds many will be thinking: “nice words and good ideas but will they help me stay in power?”

Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society.

This article was published in The Times on July 28th

The Pan-African history of Basil Davidson: Episode 1 – Different but Equal: Screening + Q&A

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Date & Time: Tuesday 11 March, 7-9PM
Place: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT), SOAS

Event in partnership with the SOAS Pan-African Society.

Speakers: Mick Csaky, Series Executive Producer; Gus Casely-Hayford, presenter, Lost Kingdoms of Africa; Professor Stephen Quirke, Institute of Archaeology, University College London; Dr Ayman El-Desouky, Senior Lecturer in Modern Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS.

The Royal African Society is proud to announce that it is hosting the 30 anniversary of Basil Davidson’s award­winning 8 x 1­hour documentary film series “AFRICA: A Voyage of Discovery” which first appeared in the UK on Channel 4 television in April 1984 and went on to play worldwide, with an accompanying book.

Basil Davidson’s seminal documentary series ‘Africa’ challenges the long held beliefs like the opinion of David Hume that Africa had ‘no ingenious manufactures among them, no arts, no sciences’. The series presents a pan-African conception of history from the origins of Egypt and Nubia to the liberation movements that Basil was familiar with, and newly independent nations in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

When Greek Historian Herodotus visited Ancient Egypt he described the civilisation he saw there as ‘different but equal’. Episode one shows that some of the world’s greatest early civilisations have their origins in black Africa, including those along the Nile Valley. The episode includes interviews with Senegalese mathematician, philosopher and Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop and explores the growth of African civilisations in West and Northeast Africa.

In the Q&A following the screening we will discuss the extent Victorian Egyptologists ‘whitewashed’ archaeology to fit in with their conception of Africa as a land with no intrinsic history.

About the series:

The series was produced in collaboration between Channel 4, The Nigeria Television Authority MBTV and RM Arts. It first aired 30 years ago in 1984 and won many awards, including the International Film & TV Festival of New York Gold Award. It has since been distributed, free of charge to many schools and colleges in the UK and Africa.

About Basil Davidson

Basil Davidson was a distinguished author and historian, having written more than 30 books on Africa. Prior to this he was a soldier working in Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during World War 2.








AFRICA - Episode 1: Different but Equal. Written & Presented by Basil Davidson. Executive Producer: Mick Csaky. 1983.




AFRICA - Episode 2: Mastering a Continent. Written & Presented by Basil Davidson. Executive Producer: Mick Csaky. 1983.





Join us for our live screening of Episode 3: 

Buika + Special guests

Monday, 14 October 2013 - 7:30pm
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS



Many missed out on her April show at La Linea, as the tickets sold out quickly.


Hailed as a star in contemporary flamenco, Buika is blessed with a remarkable voice; raw and smoky but with a tenderness that hits right at the heart.


This is your opportunity to see her in an intimate environment, playing tracks off her latest release: "La Noche Más Larga"


Get your tickets now, her show at the Barbican is selling fast!


"Buika possesses the most haunting voice to be found on either side of the Atlantic” - Sunday Times 


Watch the trailer for her Barbican Show Here

The concert follows her sold out show at this year's La Linea festival and the release of her stunning new album in June.

'Luminous…magnificent…superb!'  New York Times

Ticket Prices:  £15-£24


Click here to book tickets


African Composers Series: Tony Dudu

Saturday, 13 April 2013 - 8:30pm
VORTEX JAZZ CLUB 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ

Tony Dudu

Jazz driven by Latin grooves.

Tony Dudu is an in demand session guitarist, appearing on over 100 records with artists from Guinea Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome, Cape Verde and Brazil. Tonight Tony Dudu and his band “Gumbe Jazz” play frenetic jazz dance grooves powered by creative jazz solos.

Click here for more information