Women, Cinema, Television, and Video in Africa

The genesis of an organized movement of African women in the image industry, as it was later named, may be traced to the 12th edition of FESPACO in 1991.  A part of the festival platform was organized under the title "Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa."

The meeting brought together fifty women from more than fifteen countries.  It was chaired by Annette M'Baye d'Erneville (Senegal), a veteran in the field of communications in Africa, founder of RECIDAK (Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dakar) and director of Consortium de communications audiovisuelles en Afrique (CCA) in Senegal.  Annette M'Baye d'Erneville opened the meeting, laying down the objectives of the workshop: 1) to provide a forum for women to exchange and share their experiences; 2) to adopt propositions that will help ensure women their rightful place, particularly in the areas of training and production; 3) to devise a follow-up structure for dialogue and common action; 4) to identify the frustrations of women professionals and produce images that consciously reflect women's realities, social contexts, cultures, and histories; and 5) to disseminate that perspective. (1)

During the workshop, women filmmakers, producers, actors, technicians, and others in visual media production put forth the fundamentals of a solid organization to defend their interests.  Five of the main goals that resulted from the meeting were as follows: 1) to develop an index of African women visual media producers and their films; 2) to promote their work across a wide range of networks internationally; 3) to establish an itinerant training workshop composed of a group of trainers who circulate throughout Africa; 4) to train instructors in the various spheres of visual media production; 5) to seek funding so that women may attend and participate regularly at film festivals. (2)

The events of this meeting set in motion the groundwork for what would become the visual media network called L'Association des femmes africaines professionnelles du cinéma, de la télévision et de la vidéo/The Association of Professional African Women in Cinema, Television and Video (AFAPTV).  It was reorganized in 1995 under the name, The Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry/L'Union panafricaine des femmes de l'image (UPAFI).


(1) Claire Andrade-Watkins, "African Women Directors at Fespaco," in Cinemas of the Black Diaspora, ed., Michael T. Martin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995), p. 150.

(2) Assiatou Bah Diallo, "Les femmes à la recherche d'un nouveau souffle," Amina, May 1991.

Statement of African Women Professionals of Cinema, Television, and Video


Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema |

Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma