Filmmaker off to Washington DC


HARARE – Lobola writer and producer Joe Njagu is among the 1 000 fellows headed to America for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The fellows are coming from 49 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa. They will visit 40 academic and leadership institutes across the USA.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, which began in 2014, is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali) that empowers young people through academic course work, leadership training, and networking.

Njagu said it was a great opportunity for him as a filmmaker.

“This is a grand opportunity because I get to meet and visit film companies, Hollywood filmmakers. I am also going to be studying business and entrepreneurship at Cambridge University in Boston,” he said.

The fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organisations, institutions, communities, and countries.

Njagu is a filmmaker of note, whose fame came in 2006 when he teamed up with Ben Mahaka (Tom Mbambo in Studio 263) and Tatenda Mavetera (Tendai Jari) who expressed interest in his first script which they co-produced together and Ben Mahaka directed it. The film was called Bitter Pill and it went on to be the first Zimbabwean movie to be played on MNet.

Another film that put Njagu on the map was The Gentleman which starred Munya Chidzonga. Among the countries represented are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe and others.

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