Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror, 1972, 97 mins)

Sambizanga is the work of Franco-Guadeloupean filmmaker Sarah Maldoror (1929–2020) and is about the Angolese independence struggle – which was still ongoing when the film was released. It follows a young woman trying to find out information about her husband, who had been arrested by the Portuguese authorities, in an incident which would prompt a nationalist uprising.

Like The Battle of Algiers, Sambizanga features many non-professional actors – in this case members of the Angolan Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and anti-colonialists from Congo, where the film was shot.

With Ruth Shoo, historian and cultural studies scholar working on the intellectual and social history of pan-Africanism and Dan Hodgkinson, historian of West and Southern Africa currently working on a project exploring the past futures imagined by Anglophone Africa’s first postcolonial film industry.

This event is part of the ‘Decolonisation in Motion’ film season organised by University College at the Bodleian Library, 10 October-14 November 2023

In addition to the film, there will be 30-45 minutes of presentation, discussion, and Q&A.