The Woman King


By Nkatha Wainaina


Are you tired of seeing male dominated fights and unrealistic women fighters? Are you tired of seeing fights with guns as the protagonist dodges them like it’s nothing? Are you tired of Africa being painted in a weak and desperate picture? This movie is a change of pace.

A friend recommended this to me and I hesitated until I finally gave in. I would like to officially apologize to her. Gigi, this was worth it!

The Woman King is an action drama, directed by Gina  Prince-Bythewood. She has also directed Beyond the Lights and The Old Guard.

In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. The women warriors live secluded in the kingdom, where men are not allowed to enter. The women are comprised of captured women from enemies they conquered, run-aways and insolent women who refused to be married off to significantly older men, who abuse them before officially getting married. They take an oath of celibacy and not getting children.

Faced with a new threat, Gen. Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that’s determined to destroy their way of life a.k.a white people. The tests are excruciating and hard but it gets the work done. Naniska is forced to deal with her past and the results of that past, and still rises to become The Woman King. I have tried not to butcher the summary, as well as not give too much detail that would ruin the experience of watching it.

Though a fine choice of actors, perhaps next time they should try an all Africans cast instead of Americans in fake accents? How Africa is portrayed in Hollywood is slowly changing. We have been seen as a war ridden continent, where terrorists go to hide for five minutes of the film before they are brought back, or people who constantly need water, churches and hospitals and the main character’s love interest has to leave him for a while to go do good will.

The movie focuses on women. African women. Their strength. Their might. Their resilience. At the end you start to think women are cut from a different cloth. Do not get me wrong. I am not using this as a front to spearhead toxic feminism. I am using this article to remind women that they don’t just belong in the kitchen. I don’t mean go to war, but if they did, wars would end in three weeks. Through all this, they show that women still cry. They are emotional beings and that drives them to make risky but fruit bearing decisions. How working together could lead to great heights and generally supporting each other But standing out undeniably, is how beautiful Africans are!

It was brilliantly written and artistically brought to life. The cast consisting of Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega and Sheila Atom could not have done a better job! The investment of the audience, the twists, the raw and bare way of entertaining and still having a valuable lesson at the end. You don’t see that too often nowadays.

Incase you missed where I stand on this cinematic masterpiece, I a hundred percent recommend it.

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