The Zanzibar International Film Festival is excited to announce a partnership with Showmax to support the best in African filmmaking. For the 2017 edition of ZIFF, Showmax will be sponsoring the coveted ZIFF Golden Dhow for Best Feature Film with a cash prize of USD3,000.

This is the first time the winner of the ZIFF Golden Dhow Award will receive a cash prize and ZIFF thanks Showmax for its commitment to supporting excellence in African film. The award will be announced on the closing night of the festival, July 15th at the official Awards Ceremony taking place at the Old Fort in Stone Town, Zanzibar.

Showmax is an internet TV service that aims to make internet TV accessible and relevant in Africa.  As the head of Showmax’s African business, Chris Savides, explains,

“For us to make Showmax relevant in Africa, we’ve tailored our apps to manage mobile data constraints, we build local partnerships, and we use local knowledge to deliver TV shows and movies that are right for each country.

“The success of our business depends on truly understanding local needs. You can’t remote manage that from another continent, which is why we’ve got people on the ground in East Africa and why we’re sponsoring the Golden Dhow award. It’s a great way for us to get closer to the industry and support African film.”

ZIFF is committed to creating partnerships that support and promote African film. The support of Showmax enables ZIFF to truly reward filmmakers and support their future development.

Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo explains further,

“We are committed to putting film at the centre of ZIFF. This year we received over 600 entries for the festival and the quality and caliber of the films received is amazing. The juries will have a difficult task in selecting this year’s winners, especially for the winner of ZIFF’s most prestigious award, the Golden Dhow.”

ZIFF will take place from July 8th -16th across the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. For all the screening schedules and more information, , on Facebook:, and follow us on twitter: @ZIFF_Zanzibar

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is East Africa’s Largest Film, Music and Arts Festival, annually showcasing established and emerging talent from Africa and across the world for a Zanzibar Tamasha!

ZIFF is a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1997 in Zanzibar to promote and showcase the culture of the Dhow Countries. ZIFF is the largest multi-disciplinary cultural festival of its kind in Africa that features 9 days of Local and International Film, Music, Arts Exhibition, Workshop & Conferences, Panoramas and Soko-Filam.

ZIFF is also a festival rooted in, and committed to the communities of Zanzibar and Pemba. ZIFF will continue its community outreach programs beyond Stone Town in order to engage with various communities across Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba), with a specific focus on Women and Children and the issues that affect them. 

Showmax is an internet TV service. For a single monthly fee, get all-you-can-eat access to a huge online catalogue of TV shows, movies, kids’ shows and documentaries. Start and stop when you want. No ads. Cancel anytime - there’s no contract.

Stream Showmax using apps for smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, computers and media players. Showmax also works with Chromecast and AirPlay. Manage data consumption using the bandwidth capping feature. No internet? No problem - download up to 25 shows to smartphones and tablets to watch later offline.

Showmax was born in 2015 and is part of the Naspers group. Showmax is currently available in more than 70 countries. For a free, no-risk trial, visit

For your info, there’s more detail on what Showmax is on our blog here:


The SOKO FILAM East African Film and TV Market, taking place at The Zanzibar International Film Festival, in partnership with, from July 12th – 14that the Hyatt Hotel in Stone Town, is excited to announce a 3-day programme of industry panel discussions and master classes.

The various topics that will include, intellectual property, distribution and monetization of content, the impact of digital and technology, the role of Nollywood and Bongo Movies amongst other relevant discussions.

A host of top industry names and experts have already confirmed their attendance and participation at the event, including: ShowMax, iflix video on demand, Citizen TV, Clouds TV, The Kenya Film and Classification Board, Riverwood, Uganda Film Commission, the African Film Consortium, Trace Mziki, RongaTV and Aya Distribution (UK) Udada Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, African Voices Dubbing Company, MychoiceTV, Tibaz Productions, and Ubongo Productions amongst others.

Top international speakers will also be attending, including well respected film industry expert, author and founder of the Africa in Motion Film Festival, Lizelle Bisschoff,  Mykel Parish, President of the African Film Consortium, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, from the Kenya Film Classification BoardJudd Ehrlich, Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Priscilla Mlay, a filmmaker who has been working in the Tanzania film/TV industry since 2012, and Debra Zimmerman, the Executive Director of Women Make Movies, a non-profit NY based film organization that supports women filmmakers.

SOKO FILAM made possible by the support of the newest and most innovative film distribution and funding platform and community that will launch later this year, will revolutionise the way that content producers can create, share, monetise, and ultimately, fund their productions, from films and TV shows, to short content and music videos. The platform will create a community for filmmakers across Africa to cooperatively and effectively create a viable industry.

Panel discussions are free to attend and open to all REGISTERED SOKO FILAM DELEGATES. Registration MUST be done via the website:


9:00 - 10:00
Welcome and Key Note Address

Introduction and welcome to Soko Filam and reasons for its formation; the role of ZIFF and the government towards supporting the market initiative; current report on filmmaking in East Africa and proposal for future engagement with Film and TV industry stakeholders in East Africa, and beyond.

10:15 - 11:15
Impact of Digital Migration in East Africa

Attitudes and opinions of media stakeholders regarding the Digital migration transition and how much information is available; specifically, the preferences of consumers in terms of television content and ultimately, the factors affecting the decision of media consumers to purchase set-top boxes.

11:30 - 12:30
New Broadcast Models: Linear vs Non-Linear

Explores viewer's behaviour and attitudes towards using different platforms and service providers across a range of modes of viewing and devices; the  increasing  significance  of  non-linear  viewing,  with  catch-up  and  on-demand  services; understanding the pros and cons of each that lead to consumption.

2:00 - 3:00
Cinema Distribution & Marketing in Africa

The role that African Cinema plays in the growth and development of content in Africa; getting your film screened in cinemas/theatres across Africa and the challenges that come with it; effects of piracy and the impact on distribution sales and audience attendance; marketing and promotion of film across new distribution models and its impact.

3:15 - 4:15
Social Media: Balancing Threats and Benefits

Discuss the impact of social media and how it can be used as an effective tool in Film and TV content marketing; best methods of implementation and management; regulations governing the use of social media and its contribution towards development; how to successfully embrace the benefits without the risks/threats that come with it.

4:30 - 5:30
Interpreting Intellectual Property Rights

The importance of IP in Film & TV content and understanding how and when to secure your intellectual property rights in a film. Understanding the role of copyright and related rights as well as trademarks and other forms of intellectual property rights in film.


9:00 - 10:00
Women In Film: Building Our Future

What does it take to be a filmmaker/TV producer in the industry; how can women bridge the gap between what is expected and what can be delivered; how many women are in Film & TV (focus on East Africa) and  challenges they face as women; how to create a platform for women filmmakers to succeed. 

10:15 - 11:15
Digital Potential in African Music Markets

The evolution of African music and growth in today's contemporary society and its impact in emerging markets; consumer spending on recorded music revenues in the digital market; factors influencing the consumption of music and available digital platforms that guide marketing capabilities, pricing, competition and piracy.

11:30 - 12:30
Nollywood: Breaking Into The Market

From script to screen as a Film/TV industry stakeholder in Nollywood; success stories that have broken barriers in distribution of Nollywood films; the importance of selecting the right target market and production techniques; Nollywood as a source of African film storytelling and collaborations with international stakeholders. 

2:00 - 3:00
Consumer Viewing Trends: Film & TV

Overview of current viewership trends in East Africa based on accessibility and affordability  of service devices/platforms; age group and cultural backgrounds; suitable and relevant content and production quality; availability of resources for content creation; hypothesis on new trends in the next year and its impact on consumer habits.

3:15 - 4:15
Crowd Funding: Financing For Film & TV

Understanding the practice of funding or sourcing of funds for a project or venture in Film and TV; direct and indirect implications of crowd funding for both the investor and receiver; available sources of financing for Film and TV stakeholders; new models of financing that can reduce the risks and increase benefits associated with crowd funding.   

4:30 - 5:30
Monetizing Content Across Multiple Platforms

Learning new ways to distribute and monetize content to wider audiences; establishing brands that have long-staying power and can attract large audiences over time; using content monetization engines to build and promote your product/service; understanding revenue generation models for different platforms and knowing selecting the most suitable partner.

9:00 - 10:00
Importance of Co-Productions in Africa

Explores collaborations in Film and TV content production and success stories that have emerged; challenges in finding a suitable partner and how to narrow your search; examines the merits and demerits of co-productions; the role of film governing bodes/associations in co-production treaties.  

10:15 - 11:15
Spotlight on South Africa's Booming Film Industry

South Africa has a vibrant, growing film industry where local and foreign filmmakers are taking advantage of unique location and low production costs; what are the opportunities available and how has this contributed to the growth of the economy; what lessons can be learnt by other African countries

11:30 - 12:30
Bongo Movies: The Uprising

Bongo film and TV stakeholders take us through the journey and rise of the Bongo movie industry; how the filmmakers rise above challenges to make it one of the biggest film industries in Africa; current models adopted for financing, distribution and monetization of Bongo films; the next frontier.

2:00 - 3:00
Documentary Filmmaking As A Popular Genre

Understanding the process that determines the development of contemporary documentary filmmaking; the power of documentary film to create emotional and intellectual bounds to consumers; striking a balance between documentary films as a source of pleasure and of information.  

3:15 - 4:15
Data Driven TV: Greater Audience Engagement

The broadcast industry is looking to adopt some of the precision ad targeting and automation that has become standard for digital advertising. Ad buyers, while enthusiastic about moving beyond classic broad demographic targeting on TV, have grumbled that data-driven ad buys are hard to execute at scale.

4:30 - 5:30
The Role of Film Festivals: Focus on East Africa

Understanding the role that Film Festivals play in the growth and development of content; innovative ways adopted to market and attract new audiences to film festivals; investor relations and other benefits to the local and international community; demystfying the myth behind criteria and selection of films for screening; future of film festivals vs content markets.     

SOKO FILAM will also be presenting a series of Master Classes taking place during the market:

Topics will include:
·      Content Distribution in the UK and Africa
·      Auditioning for Roles; Dos and Don’ts
·      Entertainment Law: Understanding Contracts
·      How to Pitch Your Project

As this is the inaugural SOKO FILAM event, ZIFF has decided to make the event as accessible as possible to small companies and independent producers. Pre-registered independent producers and buyers can apply to attend the event at no cost, whilst a range of affordable exhibition packages are also available.

For businesses wanting to take their SOKO FILAM experience to the next level there are a host of exhibition and sponsorship opportunities that can be designed for maximum benefit. If you would like to participate as a speaker at the conference, kindly get in touch with us at

For more information and to register visit:   


The Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards, otherwise known as The SERAS CSR AwardsAfrica, have announced the call for entries for the 2017 edition.

First held in 2007, The SERAS have grown to become the largest and most respected awards event aimed specifically at promoting and rewarding corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Africa.

The 2016 edition of the event saw the awards  extended into Southern Africa with entries received from organisations in various countries including Angola, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and Ghana. In fact, Investec Bank South Africa took home the overall prize and capped a beautiful night with multiple wins in various categories, while MTN and Nigerian Breweries plc. Emerging as runner up and first runner up respectively.

In 2017, the SERAS are excited to open the competition further, with East African businesses now also eligible to enter. The SERAS will be making a concerted effort to reach out to businesses across the region. The team at the SERAS recognises that East Africa is one of the fastest growing, and most stable regions in Africa and has a well developed corporate and NGO sector, and all organisations from the region are encouraged to enter the awards within the  various categories.

Widely acknowledged as the largest and most respected event on the CSR & Sustainability calendar across Africa, from inception to date the SERAS has registered 710 entries from 115 organisations.

The theme for the 2017 awards iTransformational Sustainability: From Social Responsibility to Social Impact, a theme that challenges corporates to ensure their social responsibility investments yield real world results.

At the onset of the millennium, world leaders launched an ambitious global mission to reduce poverty and enhance human development. Sadly, Africa has been able to attain only a little under 15% of expected target impacts.

There can be no doubt that brands and organisations are hurling themselves at sustainability and corporate social responsibility as if it is the answer to everything. Not a day passes without new announcements and claims of brands championing environmental and social issues on our behalf.  Sales of ‘green’ products in stores have doubled between 2010 and 2012 and green advertising tripled in Africa between 2011 and 2014. Unfortunately however,  a huge percentage of these advertising claims are actually ‘green washing,’ the term given to any marketing or brand claim around environmental or social issues that is false, misleading, or exaggerated.

This edition of the the SERAs seeks to uncover the brands that have walked their talks in the real sense, and highlight and reward those investments and interventions that lead to actual impacts in communities where organisations do business and the general society at large.

There are 25 awards categories that businesses can enter including, Best Company in Poverty Reduction, Best Company in Eradication of Hunger, Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality, Best Company in Provision of Clean Water & Sanitation, Best Company in Affordable & Clean Energy, Best Company in Industry & Innovation, Most Sustainable Cities/Communities Award, as well as the regional award for Best Company in CSR/Sustainability East Africa.

The competition is open to large, medium and small scale, not- for- profit organizations, as well as public sector organizations.

Further details on how interested organizations can participate can be found on the awards website The entry portal, which opened on May 18th, would close on July 17th, 2017. The SERAS CSR Awards is billed hold on November 17th 2017 at the prestigious Eko hotel, Lagos.


The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), is excited to announce a partnership with the Milele Zanzibar Foundation (MZF) who will present this year’s “Village, Children, and Women Panorama” programme that will include a workshop on women and child health.

MZF will also sponsor a week long filmmaking workshop for Zanzibar youth. Over the course of the week 10 aspiring filmmakers will learn filmmaking techniques and given access to filmmaking equipment will produce a short that will be showcased on the closing night of ZIFF.

The participants for this workshop are being selected from other MZF funded programmes in Zanzibar and the workshop will run 28 June - 2 July.  Professor Martin Mhando, a filmmaker and former ZIFF Festival Director and CEO, and Dr. Vicensia Shule, a lecturer and researcher in theatre and film studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, will be the facilitators for this interactive and educational workshop.

The MZF “Village, Children and Women’s Panorama” programme will see screenings of select ZIFF films in villages and outreach to women and children across the islands of Unguja and Pemba in Zanzibar. Over the years, ZIFF has used the platform of the Women’s Panorama to highlight and address pertinent gender and social issues. The Panorama therefore becomes a medium of Women’s Power and Visibility. The Women’s Panorama commonly comprises of a series of workshops, seminars and symposia organized and centered on the visibility of women in and through the medium of cinema, the arts and the media.

The Milele Zanzibar Foundation (MZF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2014 by a group of concerned citizens from Zanzibar and around the world with the aim of ensuring the sustainable development and improved quality of life of rural communities in Unguja and Pemba islands. MZF’s mission is to accelerate progress in the areas of health, education and livelihood opportunities in rural and remote areas through holistic and sustainable development programs.


 All time Tanzanian International Model and Miss Earth 2008- Miss Air crown (1st Runner Up), Miriam Odemba (Left) posing with African rising actor/writer/producer Ernest Napoleon (Right) at the Festival de Cannes 2017
 The Festival de Cannes is the largest film event in the world. It aims to draw attention to and raise the profile of films and, in doing so, contribute to the development of cinema and boost the film industry internationally. For twelve days each year, it attracts thousands of professionals and film enthusiasts from all over the world, who come to celebrate the cinema in a unique setting buzzing with cultural and artistic energy. In the midst of this privileged environment of discovery and vibrant mix of cultures, the Official Selection is revealed, which culminates in the award of the Palme d’Or to the best film entry during the Closing Ceremony.
Miriam Odemba attends Festival de Cannes 2017 and makes a splash on the red carpet during the premiere of "Based on a True Story. . .” 


Jokate Mwegelo is a Tanzanian actress, singer, host and entrepreneur. She is also CEO of Kidoti Loving. In 2011 she won Zanzibar International Film Festival award for best actress.
Jokate was born in Washington, D.C, where her parents worked. She was raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She started primary school at Olympio Primary School and attended St. Anthony High School, graduating from Loyola High School, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She attended the University of Dar Es Salaam, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy. She was first runner up in the Miss Tanzania beauty contest. She was also named Redds fashion ambassador and Citizen Newspaper ambassador, after receiving the most votes that year. Before Miss Tanzania, she competed in Miss Kurasini 2006, which she won, advancing to the Miss Temeke 2006 contest, which she also won.
In 2007, she made her film debut in the movie called Fake Pastors, with Vincent Kigosi, Lisa Jensen, second runner up Miss Tanzania 2006 and the late Adam Kuambiana. In 2008, she acted in the movie, From China with True Love In 2010, she appeared in Chumo, a movie produced by Media for Development International, about malaria education. It earned her the 2011 Zanzibar International Film Festival best actress award and a Pan-African actress of the year nomination, at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. She was also featured in the TV series, Siri Ya Mtungi, produced by Jordan Riber and directed by Karabani, in 2013. In 2014, she played "Ndekwa" in Mikono Salama, which earned her another Zanzibar International Film Festival award for best actress in Swahili films
In October 2012, she officially launched her company goes by name Kidoti Loving Company Limited, the launch went together with introduction of her new hairline. The company did well and in December 2014, she founded Kidoti. She partnered with Rainbow Shell Craft, from China. Her company produces slippers, wigs, school bags and other fashion accessories, under the Kidoti brand. Her company introduced the Be Kidotified campaign to empower students. Her firm has worked with Mohammed Dewji. In March 2017, Clouds Media Group honored her with the Malkia wa Nguvu Award in business innovation in Tanzania. She released a song with Lucci, called 'Kaka na Dada. In 2015 she dropped her another song called Leo Featuring Ice Prince from Nigeria She was also the red carpet host at Channel O Music Video Awards in 2011, held in Sandton Convention Centre, in Sandton South Africa
Malawian entrepreneur Mike Chilewe Jnr, he is both the founder and owner of a multimedia advertising firm, Innovertising, as well as Lala Limited, a holding company involved in various activities from manufacturing toilet paper to agricultural exports. He is also in the process of acquiring a leading food processing company, and is now launching a third company called Chilewe Brands.
His achievements in entrepreneurship led him to be named one of Forbes’ 30 most promising young African entrepreneurs in 2016.
But how did he get to where he is today?
The best gift
Chilewe is the son of one of Malawi’s most prominent entrepreneurs. His father made his fortune in metal and steel manufacturing and is the founder of Mike’s Trading Group. But despite financial success, his father was strict with money – and looking back Chilewe believes this was the best gift his father could give him.
For example, when Chilewe wanted a computer while studying accountancy in college, he was told by his father to “figure it out”. And so he did.
He started selling his college meal coupons to other students at discounted prices until he had raised enough cash to purchase blank CDs, which he then sold on to other students. He used the profits to buy his first computer. And at a later stage he managed to save enough to buy 40,000 shares in TNM Networks, a leading mobile network operator.
Chilewe also worked at his father’s company throughout his studies. But in 2012, once he had graduated as a chartered accountant, Chilewe decided to leave the firm to start his own entrepreneurial journey.
Taking on the world of advertising
While running a few small businesses – such as selling second-hand phones imported from South Africa – Chilewe decided to venture into advertising with the launch of Innovertising in 2012. He had no prior experience in the industry, but saw a space in the market for the company and started researching advertising techniques and strategies online.
He won his first job for a TV commercial after examining a local business’s adverts, and determining what worked and didn’t. “I then went to the owner’s office without even booking an appointment. I waited for him for three hours before I could eventually pitch to him my idea for an advert, and he gave me the job.”
Today the company offers advertising across a variety of media platforms, such as print and digital.
The toothbrush approach
“It was one of the founders of Google who said before they launch a new product they first use the toothbrush test where they ask whether someone is going to use it once or twice a day. This stuck in my mind and I was thinking about it one day in the bathroom, wondering what product I could produce. And when I reached for some toilet paper – it [struck] me. This was the product I was looking for,” Chilewe recalled with a laugh.
After some market research and tracking down a second-hand machine online, he began manufacturing toilet paper under his second company, Lala Limited, in 2013. Chilewe’s toilet rolls are sold in bulk and unbranded to institutions such as hospitals and schools. By reducing packaging costs his company can compete on price with the large, established players in the market.
Lala’s commercial operations have since evolved to include other activities – like packaging agricultural produce to be exported or sold locally.
In 2015 Chilewe managed to acquire a local radio station, Star Radio, which he later sold. And he is currently negotiating the acquisition of a large food processor in Malawi. His third company, Chilewe Brands, aims to add value to local resources across Africa.
Fighting age discrimination
Chilewe’s entrepreneurial journey has not come without challenges and he has often faced discrimination in business because of his young age.
For instance, it took nearly two years for him to acquire Star Radio because the owner did not take his interest seriously. In fact, he wrote Chilewe’s father a letter to ask whether to sell him the station.
“He just considered me to be a kid.”
However, Chilewe has learnt how to improve his chances of grabbing business opportunities and ensuring he’s not completely overlooked because of his age. Key to this is networking with the people who make the decisions, and he has found every opportunity to be in their line of sight. This includes visiting hotel restaurants and taking up golf.
“I knew that decision-makers were often found at the golf course. So I started playing in order to interact with them,” he explained.
“A lot of young people think they can just hang out with fellow young people and succeed in business – but I don’t think it works like that… You might have a good product, but if you can’t talk to people and get them to trust or listen to you, then you have a problem.”
He also advises other young aspiring entrepreneurs to be careful when it comes to choosing partners – both in business and in life. Chilewe, who has been married for a few years now, noted he would not have been able to get to where he is today without his wife’s support.
“Before I married my wife I had to tell her that I am an entrepreneur and that meant I would never wake up one day and decide to look for a job. I explained there would be days when we were not going to have money, and asked if she would still be willing to be with me,” he recalled.

“So if you are going into entrepreneurship, make sure you have the right support and right partner… If your partner wants to have money every day then entrepreneurship might not be for you or you might be with the wrong partner. My wife understands me, but it helps that I explained it to her before we got married.”