Top 10 African Movies to Watch

by | Africa

Feb 3, 2023

Africa is a beautiful place filled with a richness of culture and heritage, and this remarkable peculiarity has taken a strong effect on the African movie industry. 

Africa has been on fire with movie production from various industries such as Nollywood, Sollywood, Ghallywood, Uganwood, etc. Also, African movies have been featured several times on the Netflix Top 10 film list. So if you are looking for the most interesting African blockbusters, here are ten movie recommendations that will blow your mind.

1. King Of Boys | Nigeria

Topping the list is King of Boys, listed as one of the top 10 movies of 2018 by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). King of Boys is a very catchy political thriller with its breathtaking stunts, stylish narrative, and memorable dialogues.

This movie focuses on a power tussle. Its plot tells the story of Alhaja Eniola Salami, played by popular icon Sola Sobowale, a businesswoman and philanthropist with a promising political future. She becomes drawn into a struggle for power, which in turn threatens everything, including her family, which she holds dear. 

She also heads a criminal community underground, and to retain control over the men that are constantly jostling for power with her, she is forced to make a couple of ruthless decisions. 

This top African movie fascinated the audiences, and Sola Sobawale charmed her way into the hearts of Nollywood lovers with her ‘goated’ facial expressions and hyper-activeness. It was written and co-produced by Kemi Adetiba.

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2. Sarafina | South Africa)

Africans were blessed with the fictional retelling of the Soweto Uprising in 1976 in ‘Sarafina,’ courtesy of Director Darrell Roodt. This brilliant political drama wowed the audience with its vivid storytelling and interesting use of musicals to move the plot along. 

Headed by Leleti Khumalo as Sarafina, a South African student who is discontent with racism in her country and the move to adopt the language of Afrikaans as the official language in her school. 

The African film follows the struggles of Sarafina in her quest for freedom, especially when her favorite teacher, Miss Masembuko (Whoopi Goldberg), is arrested for protesting. 

Sarafina features brilliant performances by its cast and takes on the concept of violence and hate, as well as the significance children and youths can have in their society.

3. Sometimes In April | Rwanda

Sometimes In April is a heart-wrenching genocide movie directed by Raoul Peck and starring Idris Elba and Oris Erhuero. 

The film has received several awards, including the Black Movies Award of 2005, The Black Reels Award of 2006, Image Awards(NAACP) of 2006, among many others. 

Written in 2005 and based on the events that took place in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, it details the story of when the Hutu nationalists raised arms against their fellow Tutsi fellow citizens. This is one top African movies that show the violent uprising that marked the beginning of one of the darkest and scariest times in African history, which resulted in the deaths of almost 800,000 people.

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4. Anikulapo | Nigeria

Fans who have patiently waited for a quality portrayal of Yoruba mythical stories got their wish after the release of Anikulapo, Netflix’s most-watched Non-English film. 

Star Director, Kunle Afolayan, has been commended for using a lot of legends in the Yoruba movie industry for this film. He also effectively portrayed village life with the cast, makeup, props, and costumes.

Set in the 17th century ancient Oyo Kingdom, Kunle Remi, who plays Saro, is sentenced to death for having an affair with the King’s wife. He cheats death through the mystical powers granted to him by the Akala bird, to the amazement of the villagers. 

Pride, however, sets in as he begins to make ridiculous demands when approached to raise the villager’s dead, leading to his downfall. This movie is not only interesting but also very educating and delves deep into revenge, anger, betrayal, and greed. 

The movie, at one point, was one of the top 10 movies on Netflix and received a lot of attention. So if you haven’t watched it yet, please hurry and stream.

5. The Gods Must Be Crazy | South Africa

The gods are crazy is a comic allegory directed by Jamie Uys. This movie is a humorous representation of culture and communication in African traditions. 

The story shows a bushman who discovers a coke bottle dropped by a passing plane. The object is considered a gift from the gods by his local village. In an effort to find out the meaning behind the occurrence, he decided to travel to the edge of the world to destroy it. 

In the process, he crosses paths with a clumsy biologist, a schoolteacher, a reporter, and a band of revolutionaries looking to overthrow the government. The film is a charming, hilarious, and innocent pick that has managed to awe audiences. If you are looking for a full movie with heart and soul, give this a go.

The movie might no longer retain the #1 spot on lists of the greatest films in Africa, but ask the right cinephiles, and they will likely assert “The Gods Must Be Crazy” is still the best movie of them all.

6. Òlòtūré | Nigeria

The sixth film on the list is the 2019 Nigerian Crime Drama, Oloture. This mind-blowing piece features a naive journalist (Sharon Ooja) who went undercover to expose the dangerous and brutal life world of human trafficking. 

This story exposes the true nature of sex trafficking. How so many ladies were deceived into believing that they were going to work abroad but were sold to old men or had their organs removed. 

The film was a hit as it relates to a lot of happenings in Africa. There is also the fact that the movie has a lot of strong female characters. Oloture is available to stream on Netflix. 

Read: Top 10 Safest Countries in Africa

7. Citation | Nigeria

Citation also makes it to our top African movies. Temi Otedola makes her acting debut with Citation, hailed as one of the best Nollywood films of 2020. Citation is the story of an intelligent student named Moremi (Temi Otedola). She speaks out after a university lecturer attempts to rape her and about her strong attempts to break out of entanglements of lies spun by the lecturer. 

The movie impresses audiences with its mature themes, African music selection, wardrobe choices, and highlights of the African and Nigerian cultures. 

8. Lion’s Heart | Nigeria)

Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Lion Heart is Nigeria’s first original Netflix film. Genevieve Nnaji, who also doubled as the director, portrayed ‘Nigerian-ness ‘in the settings, costumes, mix of Igbo, English, and Hausa languages, the views of the cities, the food, and the dancers. The movie put a lot of effort into showcasing Nigeria’s film industry to the world. 

The story follows an heiress who is cheated out of her rightful place as head of the company following her father’s illness. The company passes instead to her uncle, who is not skilled at keeping the company afloat. 

The film had audiences rooting for the lead character, Adaeze (Genevieve), who was a very appealing lead. If you are looking for a movie with themes of family and feminism, check out Lion Heart.

9. Heremakono (Waiting For Happiness) | Mauritanian

Abderrahmane Sissako directed this 2018 Mauritanian Film that takes a rating of 6.6/10 on IMDb and 78% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie is inspiring, emotional, and bittersweet.

It tells the story of Abdallah, who visits his mother in Nouadhibou. His old neighborhood sees him as odd as he looks a bit different from them because of his western style of dressing and the fact he can no longer relate using the local dialect.

Eventually, he feels some unexpected emotions and what he is missing after spending time and making a couple of friends in the city.

Read: 20 Beautiful Islands to Visit in Africa

10. Beast of No Nation | Ghana

Last but not the list on our top African movies to add to your bucket list is Beast of No Nation. 

Based on the 2005 novel by Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala, Beast of No Nation is a 2015 war drama directed by Cari Joni Fukunaga. The film won the Peabody Award in 2016 and is a cinematic dramatization of child soldiers in West Africa. 

Beast of no Nation portrays how young orphans lose their innocence while undergoing war training. Actors Idris Elba and Abraham Attah play the role of Commandant and Atu, respectively. 

The film is a powerful and moving watch contemplating themes of innocence, survival, and redemption in a war-torn West African Country.

By Adeola Adebayo

Adeola Adebayo is a freelance content writer and editor who works with clients in various industries to help them develop their content strategy, craft great content and do all it takes, including thorough research, to create content worth reading. Throughout her career since 2021, she has learned to channel the audience's perception. She aims to ensure her work is error-free and cohesive but also sustains the audience's interest and encourages them to take action.

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