2020 has notoriously earned itself a rollercoaster banner for all the uncertainties it came with, a pandemic that shredded our normal routine, followed by heavy protests in some parts of the world.
Dotting the effects of the pandemic, the film industry was not immune to its crippling damages that scraped on-set productions and forced movie and live event theatres to shut down. Amidst all the trying times, streaming giant Netflix, continued its harvest of African titles. Boasting of binge-worthy cinematic marvels from filmmakers, who already have dedicated trophy rooms, Netflix was the ultimate guide to good films and interesting shows sourced from Africa. Both old and new pictures made it an easy task to scroll over Hollywood productions when time came for a Netflix and chill moment.
Find below a comprehensive round-up of our best African films and shows that made it to Netflix this year.
Kunle Afolayan always thrills theatre audience with brilliant storylines and captivating cast performance. In his first Netflix original title, the AMAA-winning director brings an emotional account of a young Nigerian student Moremi (Femi Otedola), who goes through an intriguing battle with her professor Lucien N’ Dyare (Jimmy Jean Louis) on the account of sexual assault. Otedola’s delightful performance makes you want to see her win in the end. It’s rated 5.9/10 on IMDb.
Funke Akindele Bello sanitises Nollywood’s comedy-oriented films with her directorial debut movie ‘Your Excellency’. The film, which amassed a total of N186.3 million at the box office discharges a global preference, thanks to its natural depiction of Nigeria’s political landscape. As a legit industry player that has worked with some of the very best to ever do it, Funke’s touch was spot on.
Bodunrin ‘BB’ Sasore judiciously apportions some screen time to discuss the lives of four young and urban career women in Lagos as they face pressures from society and culture, their peers and family members on the condition to be married before they turn 30. Charmingly played by Nollywood fresh figures Damilola Adegbite (Temilola Coker), Beverly Naya (Nkem), Meg Otanwa (Aisha) and Anee Icha (Ama), ‘Before 30’ is a well-executed piece that experiments with the naked truth of how a woman’s fulfilment is judged based on her marital status.
How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding
If your holiday is in need of some thrills, spills and good laughs, then look no further. ‘How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding’, which arrived on the streaming service two days ago is just the right remedy. It sails through the character of Tumi, the family rebel who returns home just in time for her perfect sister’s wedding. However, it doesn’t take long for Tumi to ruin the occasion and she must quickly make things right before her family’s opinion of her is lowered even further.
Like Cotton Twins
In an attempt to save the life of a young student whose path gets interrupted by barbaric cultural norms, Jay Ellis plays the role of an American teacher, who battles tradition to invoke sanity in the life of his treasured student. ‘Like Cotton Twins’ highlights the damaging sides of the trokosi system, which has been a major influence in the culture of some tribes in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
The Perfect Picture: Ten Years Later
One of the biggest highlights in Gollywood late last year was the premier of the ‘The Perfect Picture: 10 Years Later’. The sequel, which reunited our favourite screen characters Dede (Lydia Forson), Akasi (Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku) and Aseye (Jackie Appiah) with seasoned film director Shirley Frimpong-Manso was nothing short of a power play. The three girls get introduced to new life complications from marriage, relationship and financial loss. It’s rated 6.3/10 on IMDb.
Blood & Water
There are enough reasons to love ‘Blood & Water’. Aside from its fascinating plot twist, the young actors that topline all six episodes of the series give television a new lookbook to be obsessed about. From costume to location, ‘Blood & Water’ is the show that redefines African television.
Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
After a record-breaking victory at the box office last year, ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’ arrived on Netflix in May with a stellar review from global audience. Nollywood veterans Bob Manuel Udokwu, Kanayo O Kanayo, Kenneth Okonkwo and Ramsey Nouah blend perfectly well with newcomer Swanky JKA in this well-curated piece, now stored in the archives of iconic Nollywood films.
Kings of Jo’Burg
Once the trailer for this show dropped and it had in it the legendary Connie Ferguson, we definitely knew our subscription needed to stay on for an extra month. Centred around the life of The Masire Brothers, Kings of Jo’Burg is the crime thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
A desperate farmer runs into trouble after stealing a stash of blood ivory from a gang of international terrorists. ‘Poacher’, a short film produced in 2018 doubles as the first Kenyan title to stream on Netflix. It stars Brian Ogola, Lenny Juna and film writer Davina Leonard amongst others. It is rated 6.9/10 on IMDb.