Documentaries about Africa
December 3, 2013 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Seeking viewing suggestions for African documentaries.

I don't want to watch anything incredibly violent or including animal hunting (animals hunting animals or humans hunting animals). Just looking for slice of life stuff and perhaps semi-historical stuff. Bonus points if it is available through amazon prime instant or netflix. I'm sick at home and need something to view today. But I'll hunt down non-instant recommendations later.

What I've seen so far:
Senator Obama goes to Africa
Good Fortune
The 16th Man
Anthony Bourdain - Mozambique
Anthony Bourdain - Liberia
Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart

posted by morganannie to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A Small Act was really amazing!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:50 AM on December 3, 2013

Best answer: Michael Palin: Sahara
posted by General Tonic at 9:50 AM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Welcome to Nollywood is fantastic, and like all good documentaries (IMHO) allows the subjects to tell their own story, bringing you along for the ride.
posted by duffell at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2013

N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman, is a classic.
posted by Melismata at 10:10 AM on December 3, 2013

I second Michael Palin's Sahara! Gorgeous scenery, he treats all the local traditions with respect, and is generally a fun fellow to watch.
posted by torisaur at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2013

Best answer: Two from Uganda: Bouncing Cats, about breakdancers, and Call Me Kuchu, about LGBT activists.
posted by rebekah at 10:30 AM on December 3, 2013

The BBC's recent effort with David Attenborough was awesome. It includes the whole gamut of wildlife though, in terms of your request regarding animals, but any sad stuff is done in a very moving, powerful, and respectful way, as is his style. I mention it because it was that good.
posted by 0 answers at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2013

Best answer: I wouldn't describe it as necessarily "about Africa" but a friend loved Searching for Sugar Man.
posted by kat518 at 11:13 AM on December 3, 2013

When We Were Kings is about the Ali-Foreman '74 fight in Zaire.
posted by .kobayashi. at 12:28 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I actually disagree about Attenborough's Africa, I thought that was well-shot, but extremely manipulative and disjointed. It doesn't sound like you're looking for nature docos, but if you are, I recommend in no order:

wild africa (on Prime)

Great Rift


These are older docos - especially the first two, and the lack the number of helicopter shots that Africa has, but in my opinion they are much more holistic and far less emotionally manipulative.
posted by smoke at 3:18 PM on December 3, 2013

Rising From Ashes is a pretty cool documentary about the new Rwandan cycling team. The team members almost all lost family in the genocide, and it's implicit that there are both Hutu and Tutsi team members.

There's a certain amount of "What these people need is a white guy" going on, but it's still pretty cool.
posted by suelac at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2013

Can't link right now but google the name Ali Mazrui. He made a ton of documentaries on Africa.
posted by ramix at 8:32 PM on December 3, 2013

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