For most of you, knowing about Hollywood films is nothing new. You may also know a lot of other foreign flicks like those in Bollywood and Nollywood. But elsewhere in the world is a film industry just as impressive as those mentioned, yet much more unbeknown to many of us: Swahiliwood or Bongo Cinema — The Tanzania Movie Industry.
Swahiliwood or the Bongo Cinema has been around for a decade now, producing films at par with hugely acclaimed films from other countries. In fact, Tanzania movies are currently getting international recognition, gaining more popularity in countries in East and Central Africa.
So, to introduce you to Tanzanian Movies, we bring you some of the top best you definitely need to see.
Swahiliwood: Top Tanzania Movies You Definitely Need to See
Darwin’s Nightmare is a European-produced documentary filmed in 2004 and 2006 that was nominated for Documentary Feature at the 78th Academy Awards. The film shows the environmental and social effects of the fishing industry in the country. Having known this, the Tanzanian government tried to ban the movie as it presents the government negatively. However, the movie aims to show the negative effect of this industry as a whole. This masterpiece is one of the many films that prove that films are mediums of information and change.
Hatari – A Classic Tanzania Movie
This film is perhaps the most popular Tanzania film out there. Though produced by an American, this film beautifully paints the wonders and sceneries of Tanzania. This cinematic beauty is directed by Howard Hawks and stars the Duke, John Wayne.
Maangamizi: The Ancient One
Maangamizi is a 2001 American and Tanzanian drama directed by Martin Mhando and Roh Mulvihill. Its excellence was rightly recognized when it premiered at the Pan African Film Festival and has been played in over 55 Film Festivals all over the world. The film centers on the character of Dr. Asira who is faced with the contradiction of Western medicine and traditional East African spiritual beliefs when a woman claims to have been entered by a spirit of a shaman. This film is perfect for anyone who wants to re-awaken their spiritual side.
Bongoland 1&2 – One of the Best Tanzania Movies
This realistic film easily made the Bongoland series included on this list of Tanzania’s best movies. The movie is predominantly in Swahili but has little English in it as well. In essence, it shows that national pride is important and Tanzania is a land worth living in.
Fungu la kukosa
This film has got all the elements of drama nearly perfect. And it has grit, suspense and thrill all rolled into one. The story is about Rita who moves to the city to look for Kabwe, his son’s father. After Kabwe rejects them, Rita is having her thoughts about abandoning the baby at a dump, but the two are taken in by a drunkard named Dimoso whom Rita eventually fell in love with. When the baby is hospitalized, Dimoso becomes stressed about money and got hit by a vehicle. The driver, Mirate, agrees to pay the hospital bills for both Dimoso and the baby.
However, it appears that Dimoso and Mirate begin to have an affair. Meanwhile, Rita is given a job by her childhood friend, Raita, with whom she also begins to have an affair. Kabwe, the baby’s father, tries to win Rita back, but when Rita rejected him, he has a sorcerer put a spell on her. At her wedding to Raita, the spell causes Rita mad.
Another great Tanzania movie is Augua. Amani, Uledi and George are fast friends who share all their personal matters with one another. However when it comes to spirituality and way of life, Uledi parts from his friends. While Amani agrees to be engaged to Ummi, and George to Amanda, and finally married according to her religion and culture, Uledi breaks from religious strictures. And in the end, this evil destroys Uledi. A drama about love, and spirituality, Augua is definitely a must-see.
In a nutshell, Tanzanian movies have a lot to offer. The world used to recognize Tanzania as only a venue to shoot films because of its wildlife and scenic beauty, but they are now realizing that Tanzania has got what it takes to also make their mark in the International Film Industry. Over the years, the Tanzania movie industry has continually improved and is now coming up with a lot of great films.