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Nigerian Documentary ‘Awani’ Wins UNESCO Prize

A Nigerian docufilm has won the UNESCO prize at the 2019 Afrika Film Festival.

Africa Filmfestival (AFF) is a platform for filmmakers from Africa and the African diaspora

Awani is a historical documentary that explores the intersection between colonialism and gender inequality. The film features the perspectives of many thought leaders, social commentators, activists and historians such as Kemi Da Silva Ibru, Ed Keazor, Bismarck Rewane, Minna Salami, Kadaria Ahmed and Joe Odumakin.

The documentary blends expert opinion and archival footage to create a story. Prior to the completion of Awani, Aderonke Adeola received a grant from the Ford Foundation.


The UNESCO jury defined Awani as ‘A pure documentary that encourages active participation in the process of emancipating women in Nigeria, but also globally.’

“When I submitted my film to the Afrika Film Festival, all I wanted was my film to be seen by a wider audience it was amazing being nominated and ultimately winning the UNESCO prize,” said the film director Aderonke Adeola.

This is Awani’s second award, earlier in the year, Awani won an Award of Merit from the Impact Docs Awards. In addition, Awani has been well received at several film festivals across the world. Awani had a bicoastal premiere at the Ake Arts Festival and the first Yale Africa Film Festival on the same date.


Awani has been screened at the Africa International Film Festival, irep documentary film festival, Africa World Documentary Film Festival and Afrika film festival. Over the summer Awani will be screened at the African Film festival in New York, the Durban International Film Festival and the African women in Media conference.

The success of the film so far is, perhaps, tied to the delivery of its main themes.

“I wanted to isolate western interference, oppression and subjugation to create a narrative that honoured who we were before colonialism,” Adeola said.


“Through that, I discovered collectives of women who lost their lives, who fought back against colonisers and were never recognized for this sacrifice.”

“Awa-ni in Yoruba means ‘this is ours’ and I think Awani has been able to recreate a time in history that belonged to Nigerian indigenes.

The docufilm was given private and sponsored screenings in collaboration with the following organisations SustyVibes, Fate Foundation, WIMBIZ, WAVE academies and Pedro’s Africa. Awani partnered with women’s empowerment foundation Zonta Lagos to host a screening at Queen’s College Yab


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