Friday, 27 July 2012


The third Durban FilmMart wrapped with a host of awards lending financial support to documentary and feature projects in Africa.
Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu together with South African producer Steven Markovitz were awarded $7,300 prize for best feature project.
The two will work together on Jambula Tree a South African-Kenya co-production.
The film is adapted from Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko's short story by the same name that won her the Caine Prize in the edition of the competition.
Jambula Tree is a coming of age story about two Kenyan girls, Anyango and Sanyu, who fall in love and whose desire for each other flies in the face of African conventions. This project was awarded support from the Göteborg International Film Festival Fund.
Here is the complete synopsis
Anyango is the Head Girl at St. Joseph’s secondary school, Kisumu. She has worked hard to het to this position. She is a student on a partial scholarship and many of the other, richer students look down at her. Anyango has one ambition, to leave Kisumu. She has felt the pain especially being a child of mixed cultures between the two tribes that were responsible for the violence after the elections. Anyango knows that Nairobi will be a much better place for her to pursue a future.

Sanyu is the daughter of a prominent man in Kisumu. She doesn’t care much for school or studying. When Mother Superior pairs up Sanyu and Anyango as study partners, the unlikely match surprises everyone. They have always been polar opposites. Mother Superior convinces Anyango it is for the best, Sanyu’s father can help her get the University scholarship in Nairobi.

Anyango and Sanyu begin to spend time together and learn each other’s passions and fears. Anyango encourages Sanyu to follow her passion and apply for a small part time position as one of the local film interpreters. Sanyu helps Anyango pay her fees for the rest of the year and her father promises to find Anyango’s father a job. Slowly the girls become friends and soon become inseparable. When they kiss for the first time, they are surprised by their feelings and try and avoid each other. However, their feelings continue and become evident to everyone, especially the students in their class.

The girls were ostracized and Sanyu is suspended for fighting in defense of Anyango. They decide to leave Kisumu as soon as the exams are done to live together in Nairobi. Anyango plans an elaborate night for the two of them to celebrate their new life. She rents a room for them, where they make love but her father finds out about it and finds them together.

Anyango is asked to publically apologize for taking advantage of Sanyu or losing her scholarship and support from Sanyu’s family. Anyango refuses to apologize and Sanyu is sent away from Kisumu. Anyango loses her scholarship but gets a smaller one for a university in Mombasa. On the days she is leaving, Anyango’s mother hands her a postcard from Nairobi, sent by Sanyu. Anyango has to make a decision, to follow her ambition or to follow her heart.