Feb 9, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Film explores Zanzibar’s colonial past through love story

Vuta N’Kuvute, a coming-of-age political love story set in Zanzibar in the final years of British colonial rule, will make its Dar es Salaam debut at Century Cinemax (both Mlimani City branch & Dar Free Market) on May 27th and runs through June 9th.

Adapted from the book by Tanzanian Shafi Adam Shafi, published by Mkuki na Nyota, the film explores the island’s culture across borders away from the class and racial segregation imposed by the colonial regime.

The main character Denge, played by Gudrun Mwanyika, is a frustrated and rebellious young man from Zanzibar who is part of the freedom struggle against British rule. He meets Yasmin (Ikhlas Gafur Vora), an escaped bride from India and Zanzibar who is also rebelling against the oppressive patriarchal norms of the time.

The film features first-time actors such as contemporary taarab singer Siti Amina, who represents the powerful and resilient Mwajuma. There are also more experienced actors such as Gabo Zigamba, who plays the infamous officer Matata.

Vuta N’Kuvute was selected for the 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival and at the 29th New screened at York African Film Festival.

The film received the Special Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival 2022 (USA), the Best Long Fiction Award at the Mashariki African Film Festival 2021 (Rwanda) and the Oumarou Ganda Prize for the best fiction at Fespaco 2021 (Burkina Faso). Also, Vuta N’Kuvute will be the opening film of the 25th Zanzibar International Film Festival this year.

The film was shot over two years in Zanzibar and the screenplay was written by Amil Shivji , the founder and director of Kijiweni Productions, and Jenna Bass. Around 100 crew members were involved, most of them from Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania, with a few from Kenya and South Africa.