1st Edition

Cinematic Portrayals of African Women and Girls in Political Conflict

By Norita Mdege Copyright 2024
    256 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an interdisciplinary exploration of the cinematic representations of the experiences of African women and girls in situations of political conflict.

    The role of cinema is important in providing information about the situation of women and girls in situations of political conflict, and the main characters often also become signifiers of wider social, political and economic ideas, at both global and local levels. Drawing on fictional and biographical cinematic representations, this book considers films covering a range of different regions, experiences, historical periods and other contexts, to draw a nuanced picture of African women and girls who participate in or are affected by African political conflicts. The films are analysed using a decolonial feminist cultural approach, which combines cultural approaches, African feminisms and the contrapuntal method to ensure an inter-textual, intersectional and decolonial examination. The book engages with multiple themes and topics, including nationalism, nation-building, neocolonialism, memory, history, women’s and girls’ agency and activism. Through these themes and topics, the book explores how the films represent African women’s and girls’ agency in relation to their participation in social, economic and political activities.

    This book will make a significant contribution to literature focused on African women and girls within politics, conflict studies and film studies.

    Table of contents


    Introduction: The politics of representation: African women and girls in films about political conflicts


    Section 1: Anti-colonial conflicts

    Chapter 1: Nationalism, Patriarchy and Women in Sambizanga (Maldoror 1972)

    Chapter 2: Women and the postcolonial ideal in Sarraounia (Hondo1986)

    Chapter 3: Women, girls and nation-building in Sarafina! (Roodt 1992)

    Chapter 4: Challenging official history: Women and Girl Soldiers in Flame (Sinclair 1996)

    Chapter 5: Njinga, Queen of Angola (Graciano 2013) and the Nation-Building Project in Angola


    Section 2: Postcolonial conflicts

    Chapter 6: Women’s Agency, Activism and the Postcolonial Conflict in Rachida (Bachir-Chouikh, 2002)

    Chapter 7: Women and peacebuilding in La nuit de la vérité/The Night of Truth (Nacro 2004)

    Chapter 8: The Girl Soldier and [His]story in Heart of Fire/Feuerherz(Falorni 2008)

    Chapter 9: ‘The cited and the uncited’: Girl soldiers and the postcolonial Conflict in War Witch (Nguyen 2012)

    Chapter 10: Political conflict, feminisms and the politics of identity in Papicha (Meddour 2019)


    Conclusion: In search of decolonial feminist representations







    Norita Mdege is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow on the project ‘WOMPOL-AFRICA: Women Politicians in Africa: War of Symbols and the Struggle for Political Legitimacy’ at the Geneva Graduate Institute. She has a PhD in film studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her areas of interest include postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, gender studies, women and girls in Africa, youth studies, political conflict, African cinemas and cultural politics.