We’ve compiled a list of the best Netflix original films from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa, as well as other African nations.
Recently, Netflix has placed a high priority on expanding its audience abroad, and this includes in Africa. Netflix has a smaller selection of African content than it does for other parts of the world, such as East Asia and South Asia, but there are still a large number of African films and episodes available for viewing.
In light of this, what are the best Netflix African movies?
That’s why we here at Cinema Escapist have put together this handy list of the best African Netflix Originals. Horror, drama, comedy, romance, thriller, and many other genres are all represented in these films.
Most of Netflix’s African films come from Nigeria’s Nollywood, however there are a few that don’t originate in that country. It’s also worth noting that there are many excellent movies from other African nations available on Netflix.
In addition, we’ve double-checked to make sure these films are accessible in at least the majority of English-speaking nations for 2020; we’ve updated this list accordingly. Take a look at the ten finest Netflix originals from Africa as of 2020!
Azali was Ghana’s first-ever submission to the Best International Feature Film category at the 2018 Oscars, even if it didn’t win a prize. The story revolves around Amina, a young woman from a remote part of northern Ghana. Amina, on the other hand, finds herself in the slums of Ghana’s capital city Accra, where she is forced to work as a prostitute in order to make ends meet.
Azali doesn’t deviate too far from the plot’s course, even by Ghanian film standards. There is a surprising conclusion to the film that we won’t give away, but other than that, it’s a straightforward portrayal of life amid Accra’s shantytowns. It’s a well-made film with good photography and sound design.
10. Road to Yesterday
Road to Yesterday, an African romantic comedy on Netflix, would be of interest to those who prefer the genre. During a long car ride to a relative’s funeral, an estranged couple attempts to mend their relationship but ends up uncovering more emotional baggage than they planned for.
Road to Yesterday is a romantic comedy that relies on the on-screen connection between its two leads to keep things subtle and slow-moving. A sweet love story isn’t thrown off course by gimmicky headlines or implausible plot turns.
9. Catching Feelings
Catching Feelings, a love story with a social conscience from South Africa, rounds off our collection of romantic comedies. The story revolves around Max, a university lecturer, and Sam, his lover, as they frolic through the trendy neighborhoods of Johannesburg. In order to promote his new book, a well-known white South African author visits Max’s university for a book tour, and Max is attracted into the writer’s social circle, which strains his relationship with Sam.
Catching Feelings isn’t an expert at dealing with narrative intricacy. To the contrary, the film is heavily character-driven and contains a number of humorous yet thought-provoking observations about racism, sexism, and creativity in post-apartheid South Africa. Furthermore, it’s a refreshing break from the typical Hollywood depictions of South Africa.
8. King of Boys
The Wedding Party, directed by Nigerian filmmaker Kemi Adetiba, was released in 2016 and remains the highest-grossing Nollywood film to date. Although that film is also available on Netflix, we’ve decided to focus on Adetiba’s second feature film, King of Boys.
A darker, more political thriller than The Wedding Party, King of Boys gives the audience a chance to think about the world while they’re having a good time.
A ruthless businesswoman named Alhaja Eniola Salami is depicted in the film King of Boys by actress Sola Sobowale, who gives a terrific performance as the ruthless Alhaja. Despite the film’s lengthy running time, King of Boys is a worthwhile watch for anyone who appreciate dark films about power and brutality.
7. The Figurine
Thriller based on the supernatural.
In the last two decades, Nollywood has produced some of the most intriguing films to come out of the country. They are two buddies who unearth a mystery figurine in the forest, which is said to bring seven years of luck to its owner. However, seven years later, the lives of the two friends begin to spiral downward in frightening ways.
A few Nollywood films have earned significant international, critical, and scholarly attention, including The Figurine, which premiered in 2009 at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. The Figurine’s cinematography and storytelling were noticeably better than those of previous Nollywood films.
Nollywood may have benefited from the film’s success by adopting a more cinematic approach to its productions in the future. As a result, Autering Nollywood, a 455-page book that featured scholarly critique of the film from academics and film luminaries in Nigeria and throughout the world, was published.
6. October 1
Our second selection in this list of the top African movies on Netflix comes from Kunle Afolayan, who directed October 1. Before Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960, a police detective named Danladi Waziri is tasked with solving a murder case in the final days of colonial rule.
October 1 is a fantastic film in terms of both production quality and story. By staying away from sentimentality and over-the-top dramatics, the film provides a thoughtful and engrossing look at a period of history rarely seen on screen. Imperialism, tribalism, and nation-building are just a few of the hot-button issues discussed in depth on October 1. It’s a good starting place for those who have no prior knowledge of Nigerian history.
Netflix’s first-ever Nigerian original film, Lionheart, garnered headlines. This means you don’t have to worry about Netflix removing the movie from their service because of a licensing dispute.
Adaeze Obiagu, a young woman who aspires to be a business leader at her father’s company, Lionheart, is the protagonist of this comedy-drama. When her father is unable to perform due to a medical condition, she has the opportunity to display her talents. Adaeze and her eccentric uncle must overcome sexism and corporate debt to save Lionheart from bankruptcy.
As far as Nollywood female-centric movies go, Lionheart is one of the better ones out there. Nigerian and other African Netflix originals can look forward to a bright future thanks to this film’s fast pace and many amusing moments.
4. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a Netflix original, is another worthy film to include. Despite the fact that it was produced by British nationals, Malawian co-producers were involved, and the film was shot in Malawi with over 80% of the dialogue being in Chichewa, we still consider it to be “African.”
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind tells the intriguing story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian inventor who became famous for creating wind turbines out of junk components to power his rural home. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for an Oscar, directs and appears, but it’s Maxwell Simba, who portrays a young Kamkwamba, who steals the show. Consider The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, a heartwarming and inspiring film set in Africa, for your next movie night.
Vaya director Akin Omotoso spent years working with homeless people in Johannesburg before filming the film. Vaya, which brilliantly interweaves three stories of South Africans who come from rural regions to achieve personal hopes or aspirations in Johannesburg, was informed by the experiences he heard. Aspiring to find work in the big city, a young guy wanting to recover his father’s corpse, and a young woman who wants to leave rural life behind all feature in this collection.
It is only when these stories twist and turn that Vaya’s study of the dark underbelly of urban life in South Africa’s pulsating economic heart takes off in full force. The film evokes memories of the Mexican masterwork Amores Perros, which also combined three distinct stories into a single, powerful work.
At the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, Senegalese director Mati Diop won the Grand Prix for his film Atlantics. For African cinema, the prize had been a long time coming, but sadly, most of the conversation around it focused on the fact that Diop is the daughter of legendary singer Wasis Diop and the niece of cinematic icon Djibril Diop Mambéty.
Ada, a young woman, is the protagonist in Atlantics. Despite her feelings for Omar, she is set to join an arranged marriage with another guy, Souleiman. Souleiman leaves sail for Europe one day, and Ada never hears from him again. As the date of Ada’s wedding draws near, strange things begin to happen to her as she longs for Souleiman.
Acclaimed cinematography and sound design round up Atlantics’ impressive cast. There’s something menacing and ethereal about the colors and music in this picture, which is heightened by the droning score. In spite of having a legendary ancestor, Atlantics was well-deserving of its Cannes prize.
1. The Burial of Kojo
The Burial of Kojo is our favorite African film on Netflix at the moment. This film, like Atlantics, raises—and probably redefines—artistic standards in African filmmaking by incorporating a mystical theme.
A young woman named Esi reflects on her father, Kojo, as the film opens. As the story progresses, Esi’s life is filled with mystical themes, including sacred birds, dreams, and telenovela symbolism. She must rescue her father from an abandoned mineshaft.
It was written and directed by Blitz Bazawule, also known as Blitz the Ambassador, a Ghanaian artist who goes by the stage name Blitz Bazawule. Bazawule appears to be a filmmaking prodigy as well. This is his directorial debut; nonetheless, The Burial of Kojo already has a distinct cinematic language that is both informed by previous filmmaking titans (such as Djibril Diop Mambéty) and determined to push boundaries. Bazawule’s roots are evident in the film’s superb score, which includes Afrobeat-inspired elements, and the film’s color and editing choices enhance the film’s sweeping views (and drone flying, in some cases).