The power of film in harnessing the promotion and respect for human rights is what Africa Human Rights Film Festival (AHRFF) seeks to use to create a vibrant culture of human rights awareness in Africa.
AHRFF, a registered non-profit organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa, aims to constantly use film to generate robust debate, empower African citizens, raise awareness, and promote respect for human rights across Africa. AHRFF uses cutting-edge human rights themed films as advocacy and awareness-raising tools in marginalized communities, national and Africa-wide decision-making bodies.
With an annual rolling programming, AHRFF creates partnerships between human rights defenders, filmmakers, investigative journalists, broader civil society and potential funders for coordinated and concerted efforts to promote human rights awareness in Africa through film.
“Our vision is an Africa with high levels of awareness and respect for human rights among policy makers and empowered ordinary citizens in rural, marginalized and urban areas,” said Festival director, Francis Hweshe.
“We will take films to rural communities to raise awareness; we will screen at political and governance summits such as SADC and the African Union as well as at the sidelines of big business gatherings such as the Mining indaba and World Economic Forum – Africa,” added Hweshe
Since April 2018, AHRFF partnered with Olive Tree Theatre, to roll out monthly screenings, in Alexandra, one of the poorest townships in Johannesburg, South Africa. These monthly outreach screenings, dubbed the Last Thursdays, seek to engage ordinary people in African cities, townships, rural communities and policy-makers on human rights issues.
“We have screened high social impact films such as Inxeba, Vaya, Whispering Truth To Power, Nomfundo and Someone To Blame,” said Davison Mudzingwa, AHRFF programmer “We believe in the power of film to bridge dialogue between citizens on those in power to make a better society,” he added.
A bigger pillar of AHRFF is to train young people in disadvantaged communities in making films to tell their own lived experiences and stories. The multimedia training also extends to human rights defenders in enhancing their skills set in this digital age.
Africa Human Rights Film festival has a thriving digital footprint with regular social media broadcasts and as well as an informative website. “We are occupying a space that we think is critical in driving development in Africa. With the right partners, we will play our part in cultivating this culture of respecting and upholding human rights,” Hweshe said.