Photo by: Elley Photography

Every year, the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (Oct 14–16) provides a unique lens into the real Africa. For their seventh show, the SVAFF will showcase African vitality and shine a light into society’s most stigmatized issues.

This year’s films raise issues pertaining to everyone and is the first step towards creating an equal society. Below are our list of SVAFF’s must-see’s this year.


In this short documentary, Jordan Braise examines the selflessness of Arthur Kisitu that gave hope to hundreds in Uganda’s largest slum. Using his creative talents, Arthur took on an almost futile project and transformed it with his belief. If you’re looking for a motivational piece to promote social change, put this one on your list. // Running time: 24 minutes. Buy tickets.


Based on a true story, Stephanie Linus’ Dry is an emotional rollercoaster that will take you to hell and back again. Linus stars as Zara, a doctor whose traumatic childhood unravels when she meets a girl walking her old path. Made in light of controversial circumstances, this film does not hold back from issues of rape, child marriage, and obstetric fistula. // Running time: 122 minutes. Buy tickets.


Lead character Sello Mofokeng is trying to remake his life at 46 with two children. Having grown up as an orphan and spent the last 14 years in jail, Sello has every reason to give up but he refuses. Director Kamogelo Mabizela breaks down the social constructs faith and persists that each person, no matter their past, has a purity about them. // Running time: 12 minutes. Buy tickets.


Shehab Fahmy’s film will leave any female feeling empowered, especially in this age of feminism. Fahmy explores the marginalization of women in Egypt and follows them as they leave their families. She narrows in on their difficult financial and social circumstances while highlighting their newfound freedom to be whoever they want. If you have daughters, Migrants is a perfect short film to bring them to. // Running time: 44 minutes. Buy tickets.


How long can things go wrong before a limit is reached? Claudia Mattos’ Snack Time looks into this question with the story of three brothers caught in a terrible situation. Every day their situation gets worse, but they cannot turn against their impoverished family. In this short film, the limitations of human egos are explored as well as the strength of family loyalty. // Running time: 15 minutes. Buy tickets.


In Naija Beta, a team of Nigerian students go home to teach technology to high schoolers through a robotics camp. Director Arthur Musah reflects on cultural differences and highlights the values of tradition and dangers of idealism. His most telling theme, however, is the ever-present optimism that is the film’s takeaway. // Running time: 50 minutes. Buy tickets.


If you think a four minute animation can’t be powerful, watch Comfort Arthur’s latest film. It was inspired by Arthur’s own insecurities and experiences with skin bleaching and won the “Best Spoken and Poetry Film” award at Nigeria’s Real Time Film Festival. The voice over artist for Black Barbie is Ghanaian actress Ama K. Abebrese. // Running time: 4 minutes. Buy tickets.


This trailer will remind you of Straight Outta Compton. The film follows aspiring musician Samuel Kangethe Ngigi, who made his way to the top with his hip hop crew. When fame hits, however, Mc Kah’s visions stray from the materialistic dreams of his crewmates. Robert Bresson delves into hip hop origins and the conflicts from growing up on different levels of the social strata. // Running time: 47 minutes. Buy tickets.


Siblings can hopefully relate and not relate to this short narrative. Director Tulanana Bohela explores sibling relationships, love, and jealousy in a film about two sisters and their mutual lover. She examines the extent of our forgiveness and pushes the constraints of human relationships to its limit. In this short but powerful film, trust is betrayed, regrets have their costs, and an impenetrable bond is broken to its core. // Running time: 24 minutes. Buy tickets.


Sports lovers, here’s your film. This documentary takes viewers on a wild ride in the story of Salvador, the best boxer in Equatorial Guinea with a chance to represent Africa in the Olympics. The film harrows in on Salvador’s unsteady home life and lack of discipline, and discusses the unfair pressure we put on athletes. It is a film which teaches everyone that dreams are conquerable. // Running time: 90 minutes. Buy tickets.

The Silicon Valley African Film Festival runs Oct. 14–16 at the Community School of Music and Arts. It is located at 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View, CA. General admission tickets are $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday or Sunday, and $50 for the all access pass. For more information, visit

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