Sheff Doc/Fest Review: Leaving Africa

Leaving Africa

Africa is a very conservative continent. Outside of South Africa, traditional values and beliefs tend to hold a grip on the populous. Uganda is no exception. Outdated gender roles and stereotypes are abundant and religion plays a huge role in the education of Ugandans. Two sexagenarians, Ritta and Kata, live together and provide sexual and equality education to the local population. .

Ritta is a Finn who has lived in the country for 23 years. After working as a nurse she’s currently employed by a Finnish organisation which sponsor Concawe. She’s been friends with Kata for many years but is now approaching retirement and due to return to Finland. Whilst the pair spread vital knowledge to adults and children from all faiths, the conservative authorities threaten to withdraw funding and work permits after they receive allegations that the organisation promotes homosexuality.

Leaving Africa is a powerful and poignant film about the enduring nature of friendship and the struggle faced by those trying to change attitudes and prejudices. Iiris Härmä’s film tackles the issues at play through the eyes of two very remarkable people. There’s clearly a deep bond and affection between them, and the classroom scenes add a playful humour and rounded perspective. Leaving Africa is a wonderful film about the power of friendship and what can be achieved through determination.

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