10 Best African Movies of All Times (Classic)

Africa has a very rich culture and has tried to portray this in most African songs and movies. But when the story is not about the culture, there are many other things to be presented through the media. Africa is a continent that has come through a long way; having been largely shaped and influenced by wars, strife, famine, health challenges and political instability, Africa has a lot to present in the media through African Movies. Being home to Nollywood which is the third largest movie industry in the world, the Ghollywood (Ghana Movie Industry), the South African and Kenyan cinemas, it cannot help but produce some interesting and classic movies that keep reverberating through the ages. Answers Africa brings you the top 10 classic African movies.

10. Guelwaar

Guelwaar - best African movies

Written and directed by Ousmane Sembene one of Africa’s best filmmakers, Guelwaar could not but become one of Africa’s best film. The setting of the movie was in Senegal and the story was that a murder mystery began to unfold around the death of a district leader whose family had gathered at the funeral.

9. Sarafina!


Sarafina! is a 1992 South African film starring Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, John Kani and Tertius Meintjies. The film was shot on location in Soweto and Johannesburg, South Africa and was directed by Darrell Roodt.

Synopsis: The movie is about students that are involved in the Soweto Riots. The riots are staged to emphasize the opposition to the implementation of Afrikaans as the teaching language in schools. The character Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) feels shame at her mother’s (Miriam Makeba) acceptance of her role as a domestic servant in a white household during the apartheid in South Africa, and inspires her peers to rise up in protest, especially after her inspirational teacher, Mary Masombuka (Whoopi Goldberg) is imprisoned.

8. Viva Riva!

Viva-Riva - african movies

Viva Riva! is a Congolese crime thriller movie written & directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and starring Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Marlene Longage, Alex Herabo & Diplôme Amekindra. The film received 12 nominations and won 6 awards at the 7th African Movie Academy Awards in 2011, including the awards for Best PictureBest DirectorBest Cinematography & Best Production DesignViva Riva! also won at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards for Best African Movie.

Story Line: Riva is a small time operator who has just returned to his hometown of Kinshasa, Congo after spending 10 years away with a major score: a fortune in hijacked gasoline. With wads of cash ready to spend, he is out for a good time then Riva soon becomes entranced by a very pretty nightclub Nora who happens to be the kept woman of a local gangster. An Angolan crime lord steps into the picture and is relentlessly seeking the return of his stolen shipment of gasoline.

7. The Gods Must Be Crazy

The Gods Must Be Crazy

The Gods Must Be Crazy is an old movie released during the era of VHS and 180 minutes maximum video play This is the period when after watching your movie, you have no option than to slot in the cassette in another “video cassette player-like” device called re-winder. The Gods must be crazy was a very popular and hilarious South African movie which was written and directed by Jamie Uys and set in Botswana, it tells the story of Xi, a Sho of the Kalahari Desert whose band has no knowledge of the world beyond until a bottle of Coca-cola fell from sky and the whole story changed.

6. Tsotsi

tsotsi - African movies

Tsotsi is a South African Movie directed by Gavin Hoodin in which the dark underground life of the golden city, Johannesburg, becomes revealed in the life of a teenage township tsotsi (thug) in Soweto. Within a 6-day rampage, hell was let loose with cases of robbery, violence, car theft and murder. A woman had no option than to give birth at the back of a car and Tsotsi takes the baby to his slum where it begins to arouse deep emotions that are supposed to result in redemption … but it is a little too late for this victim of his own birth. Tsotsi won the 2006 Oscar award for best foreign language film.

5. Sitanda


Sitanda is one of the best African movies. It is a Nigerian Nollywood adventure/drama film written by Fidel Akpom and directed by African Movie Academy Award winner Izu Ojukwu. Sitanda received 9 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2007, including Best Picture, Best Nigerian Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

4. From a Whisper

From a Whisper

From a Whisper is an African movie of Kenyan origin written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu. From a Whisper is based on the events surrounding the bomb attacks on the US Embassy in Nairobi on the 7th August 1998. In the movie, Abu is an intelligence officer who loves being reserved but on meeting Tamani, a young, rebellious artist in search of her mother, he decides to help. The discovery of her death churns up memories of Fareed, Abu’s best friend who also lost his life in the attack. The discovery and memories teach them how to forgive, to believe in themselves and confront what they fear the most – the truth.

Following 12 nominations the movie received, it won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Original SoundtrackBest DirectorBest PictureBest Original Screenplay and AMAA Achievement in Editing. In 2012, the movie also won the Best Feature Narrative award at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival and was honored with the 2010 BAFTA/LA Festival Choice Prize. The movie is not strictly about the terrorist bombing despite commemorating the 10th anniversary of the August 7th, 1998 terrorist bombing in Kenya. rather it paints a clear picture of the bombing aftermath and portrays the lives of the victims and their families who had to pick up the pieces of their lives shredded by the blast.

3. The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of Scotland is a movie about a young doctor working on a Ugandan medical mission whose brazen attitude in a moment of crisis earns him a spot close to the self-appointed leader as his personal physician and a close confidante. He becomes irreversibly engaged with one of the world’s most brutal dictators: Idi Amin. The movie won Forest Whitaker who plays Idi Amin the best acting Oscar for his incredible performance. The Last King of Scotland was also set in Uganda.

2. The Figurine


The synopsis of Figurine (Araromire) shows that it is a story of two buddies and a girl…all down on their luck have their lives changed when one of them discovers ‘Araromire’ a mystical sculpture in an abandoned shrine in the forest, while they are serving at a National Youth Service Corps camp which, according to legend bestows seven years of good luck. But no one told them about the next seven years. In 2010, the Figurine received 10 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards.

1. How To Steal 2 Million

How To Steal 2 Million

“How To Steal 2 Million” is one of the best African movies that has been acted. Produced in 2011 and directed by Charlie Vundla. Lead character Jack, after serving five years for a robbery gone bad. Twala was never caught and Jack never talked. Jack wants to go legit and forget his old lifestyle but after being rejected a loan. Twala presents him with a job of  R2 million in partnership with the sexy but tough Olive. The complication in the job is that the mark is Twala’s father and little does he know she will prove to be more devious then his old friend. The South African Movie had 11 nominations and won 4 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2012.

Emeka Chigozie
Emeka Chigozie
Emeka has a keen interest in tech, entertainment, and politics. He likes to stay up to date with global news when he is not thinking about future trends in tech.


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