Tsotsi & Top 5 Non-cliché African History and Culture Movies

Every day, someone writes a script that depicts Africa in various ways. Moviemaking has grown profitable, and numerous filmmakers are producing films around Africa.

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Because Africa is such a diverse cultural continent, there are numerous ways to communicate its story. With so many misconceptions about the continent, only Africans can convey their tales accurately.


Africa comprises 54 countries, almost 2,000 languages, and numerous cultural, religious, and historical differences. In this guide, we have highlighted five non-cliché films that discuss the history and culture of several African regions.


If you have visited Johannesburg, Tsotsi would be easier to relate with. The 2005 film has its location in Johannesburg, South Africa. It came from a novel of the same name by Athol Fugard.

Gavin Hood, a movie veteran from Johannesburg, directed the movie. Hood has produced other award-winning movies in the country. If you have not watched some amazing African movies, Tsotsi is an excellent entry point for you.

Tsotsi focused on a teenage gang leader Tsotsi’s lifestyle. He stole and found a baby in the backseat. He had one smart move to make, escape from the police, while he finds someone that can take care of the baby for him.

The movie has great locations in South Africa that would make you tour with the movie maker. You will find South Africa in a different view, especially if you have not visited the country. Tsotis which loosely translated to ‘thug’ will make you feel the emotion surrounding the movie.

Town of Runners

Town of Runners tells the story of Ethiopia and its runners. The country has record breaking athletes like Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, and others.  Jerry Rothwell, was the director of this inspiring documentary that focused on a village called Bekoji.

If you ever wonder how Ethiopia has a number of Olympic athletes, you should watch this movie.  Bekoji has a large number of Olympic athletes in the world. You will understand what these runners go through to earn their spots in the athletic world.

There is no luck in the success of each of these athletes; they had hours of training and perseverance to hit the Olympic grounds.

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda does not grow old in the memory. Each time, you think of Rwanda, the movie pulls up certain memories about the darkest historical event in the country.  The movie highlighted pain, blood, death, perseverance, politics, and victory.

Hotel Rwanda told the story of the 1994 genocide that happened in the country. Don Cheadle, the protagonist took us through the heart-wrenching movies. It was the true story that centered on Paul Rusesabagina and his wife, a daring couple who had to save many refugees hiding in their hotel from their killers.

The horrifying massacre was something the world wouldn’t forget because about one million people lost their lives within 100 days.  In addition, the war focused on war atrocities and man’s inhumanity to man.

Mali Blues

Among the many movies about Africa, Mali Blues stands out with its story line.  It might surprise many people that blues originated from Mali, The movie focuses on a music-political documentary that highlighted the story of four musicians.

One of these musicians includes Grammy-award winner, Fatoumata Diawara, whose story is inspiring. He returned to Mali after running away.   Mali Blues is about the 2015 music festival in Bamako. Interestingly, Jihadists had banned music in the country when the movie was made.

12 Years A Slave

Finally, on our list is 12 Years A Slave.  The movie highlighted our culture and history and has become one of the most watched. The 2013 movie was inspired by Solomon Northup’s memoir and had Chiwetel Ejiofor as the main character. The movie was directed by Steve McQueen, who created Solomon’s story in a compelling way.

Solomon started his life as a happy man, but was kidnapped before he was sold into slavery. He worked in a Louisiana plantation where he spent 12 years. In the movie, Solomon went through verbal abuse and torture before things turned around for him.

These five movies are not the only African movies that talk about history and culture.  Every year, we find great movies that make us feel proud of our heritage. Which of these movies can be add to our list?

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