The fourth annual Adiaha Award, which rewards excellence in documentary filmmaking by African women, has been announced. The award, which is presented by Encounters in partnership with the Ladima Foundation and DOK.fest München, was inaugurated at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2018.

This year’s winner is Cyrielle Raingou for her film Le Spectre de Boko Haram. The film follows a group of children in Cameroon who are living under the constant threat of attack by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The jury praised the film for its powerful and intimate portrayal of the impact of war on children.

The second prize went to Milisuthando, directed by Milisuthando Bongela. The film is a personal and insightful exploration of post-apartheid South Africa, and the challenges faced by young black women in the country.

The third prize was awarded to Eat Bitter, directed by Pascale Appora-Gnekindy. The film tells the story of a young woman who is forced to flee her home in the Ivory Coast after her family is killed in a political conflict.

The jury for the Adiaha Award was composed of Akuol de Mabior, director of the 2022 winner No Simple Way Home; Rumbi Katedza, director of Transactions; and Xoliswa Sithole, director of Standing on their Shoulders.

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Encounters / Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award

Encounters is also proud to present the Encounters / Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award for the Best African and Best International Documentary. The awards, which are supported by Al Jazeera for the first time this year, reward films that embrace excellence and fresh perspective in documentary filmmaking.

The winners in each category will receive $625, 1st runner-ups $250 and 2nd runner ups $125.

The Best International Documentary award went to Seven Winters in Tehran, directed by Saman Salour. The film follows the lives of seven young people in Tehran as they navigate the challenges of growing up in a repressive society.

The Best African Documentary award went to Milisuthando, the same film that won the Adiaha Award.

The Encounters / Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award is a testament to the quality and diversity of documentary filmmaking from Africa and around the world. The awards recognize the important role that documentary films play in telling stories that need to be heard, and in raising awareness of important issues.

Mandisa Zitha, Festival Director, said: “The Encounters / Al Jazeera Best Documentary Award recognizes exceptional films in our programme that embody new perspectives and push the boundaries of documentary, through their elevated storytelling, stylistic virtues, and thematic interest. The award winners and nominees appeal to our diverse audiences and successfully provide a transformative space of meaning, mediation, and re-awakening of our awareness. The programmers of Encounters congratulate the filmmakers for courageously tackling challenging subjects and offering excellence in the art form of documentary while entertaining, educating and inspiring us.”

About the Adiaha Award

The Adiaha Award is named after Adiaha Nduka, a Nigerian woman who was a pioneer in documentary filmmaking in Africa. The award was created to celebrate the work of African women filmmakers and to encourage more women to make documentaries.

About Encounters

Encounters is an international documentary film festival that takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The festival was founded in 2007 and has since become one of the leading documentary film festivals in Africa.

About Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera is an Arabic news and current affairs television channel that is headquartered in Doha, Qatar. The channel was founded in 1996 and has since become one of the most popular news channels in the world.