Mamba reports:
An initiative of LEGABIBO (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) the festival aims to share an understanding and promote tolerance and appreciation of sexual diversity through the art of film.

The theme for this year is ‘Breaking Down the Walls’. “Minority groups, including LGBTIQ individuals, women and child are often subjected to various forms of obstacles that hinder their progression and fulfillment of life in its totality. LEGABIBO aims to break down those obstacles, thus the ‘walls’,” said the organisation.

“LEGABIBO wants to bring everyone to the same platform through the art of film and highlight these issues and, together as Batswana, to find a way forward and commit ourselves to defending the rights and wellbeing of these minority groups.”

The festival will screen films and documentary from across the world, with content that relates to everyone in Botswana. Around 60% of the line-up is from Africa, including Botswana. Among the highlights is Moonlight, the American film that’s been nominated for 8 Oscars.

While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Botswana, gay people could be prosecuted under Section 164 of the Penal Code that bars “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” with penalties including seven years in prison.

In March 2016, Legabibo won a groundbreaking court case that saw the government being ordered to officially acknowledge and register the organisation.

The Batho Ba Lorato Film Festival takes place from 22 – 25 February at the New Capitol Cinema at Riverwalk mall in Gaborone. The festival is open to everyone and entrance is free for all screenings. Below is the lineup.


22 February

The Story of Sebonta (Botswana)
AFDA Botswana (2016) Duration: 24 min

A young teenage boy transforms from a homophobic bully into openly exploring homosexuality when he unexpectedly falls in love with Karabo, who is expressive and openly gay. Sebonta is caught up in a dilemma between losing control of his gang who are all homophobic and losing Karabo. He ultimately decides to make his feelings for Karabo known by introducing him to the gang. Things falls apart when the gang shuns Karabo and turn their backs on Sebonta, leaving him humiliated. Tragically, as a result of the repressive forces in a conservative society, Sebonta believes the only way out is suicide.

Directed by: Thabiso Ranthoyakgale, Ellen Phooko
Starring: Tebo Daniel Mogopane, Thabiso Segokgo
Screening date: 22 February 2017
Time: 1715hrs

Hell or High Waters (Nigeria)
Asurf Films (2016) Duration: 31min 24sec

Hell or High Water tells the story of a young pastor loved and adored by the people around him. Things change for him when he has to confront a hidden truth about himself—a truth that could make or break him psychologically. But, whatever decision he makes, he is still going to crash and burn, for life as he once knew it would never be the same again. The story explores the reality of sexuality amidst spirituality, exorcism, blackmail, and family life.

Starring: Enyinna Nwigwe, Daniel K. Daniel, Ashionye Raccah, Tunbosun Aiyedehin, Adedayo Davies and Chika Okeke.
Directed by: Oluseyi “Asurf” Amuwa
Screening date: 22 February 2017
Time: right after first screening

23 February

Lost in the World (South Africa)
Blackweather and Hand Drawn House production, (2015) Duration: 14 min 56 sec

Lost in the World tells the story of a South African police officer seeking vengeance following the violent rape and murder of her long-time girlfriend. The cop, played by Honey Makwakwa, loses her mind and soul in the process.

Directed by: Xolelwa ‘Ollie’ Nhlabatsi
Starring: Honey Makwakwa
Screening date: 23 February 2017
Time: 1715 hrs

LIT The Documentary (South Africa)
Siyacharmer Productions (2016) Duration: 55 min 17 sec

Shot in Soweto, Johannesburg – LIT The documentary is centred around young LGBTI* South Africans as they navigate their coming out stories, religion and how they are received by communities. We explore the life of a young woman Keba as she journeys to becoming Karabo
– a man, a young intersex Zanele aka Mazet and a lesbian Siyabonga, how within their friendship dynamic they learn to understand each other’s journeys. We see the triad leverage off the bond of friendship to create understanding and acceptance within themselves and within each other as they navigate complexities faced by the LGBTI* community and life in general. The pertinent question, “if God made Adam and Eve, then who created us (LGBTI*)?

Directed by: Siyabonga Ntuli
Starring: RSA LGBTI community
Screening date: 23 February 2017
Time: right after first screening

24 February

Naz and Maalik (USA)
Pecking Wilds (2015) Duration: 1 hr 25 min

Over the course of one Friday afternoon in Brooklyn, two closeted Muslim teens have their secretive lives rattled by FBI surveillance. Intimate and meditative, Naz and Maalik examines the mysterious forces that animate teenage minds.

Directed by: Jay Dockendorf
Starring: Kerwin Johnson JR, Curtis Cook JR
Screening date: 24 February 2016
Time: 17.15 hrs

25 February

Moonlight (USA)
A24 (2016) Duration: 1 hr 51 min

A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the “War on Drugs” era. The story of his struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality.

Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Starring: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali
Awards: 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama 2016 Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Screening date: 25 February 2017
Time: 14:15 hrs