TZ tests Oscars after 20-year wait

A Tanzanian film has been shortlisted for an Oscars award – ending the country’s two-decades wait for an entry in the awards.

Vuta N’kuvute film – Swahili for tug of war – has been shortlisted in the 95th Oscars’ Best International Film category.

Released in Swahili and with a majority black cast, the film tells the story of a young Indian-Zanzibari girl whose romance thrives on the back of a political revolt in the dying days of British imperial rule.

“The future for Tanzanian cinema is finally in our hands. A wave of Swahili filmmakers grows with pride, intellect and audacity every day,” Amil Shivji, a co-producer of the film, posted on Instagram.

In September 2021, Vuta N’kuvute made history as the first Tanzanian feature film to ever be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Tanzania’s first entry to the Oscars awards was Maangazi: The Ancient One, in 2002.

The country’s Swahili Bongo films are popular in East Africa.

Amil Shivji saw it as a big honour and privilege to be selected as Tanzania’s official submission to the 95th Academy awards.

He said two decades have passed since the country was recognized by the world’s most prestigious platform for cinema. Although these are baby steps, the future for Tanzanian cinema is finally in our hands.

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