Maangamizi (The Ancient One)

In this ambitious allegory, an American woman medic, Dr Asira, comes to Tanzania to work at a hospital for the mentally disturbed. There she meets a sometimes-catatonic patient, Samahe, who seems to be in communication with another reality. In their confrontation with their individual and collective pasts, Dr Asira and Samahe are bound by fears and half-remembered images of unbearable pain.

It is only through the mentoring spirit of Maangamizi that the women can resume their lives with an understanding of the ancestors and their eternal presence in a world of cruelty, hatred and death. Maangamizi is a film that seeks to reclaim the connection between Africa and her Diaspora, and dares to represent the histories of two continents as it peels away layer upon layer of trauma to bring a healing of the soul.

Maangamizi (The Ancient One) (2001)


Tanzania / USA


Swahili and English, with English subtitles


No Rating


Martin Mhando | Ron Mulvihill

Martin Mhando

Martin Mhando is a film director, producer and academic from Tanzania. He has made a number of feature-length films as well as documentaries. His film Maangamizi (2001) was selected by Tanzania as its 2002 Academy Awards entry for Best Foreign Language Film, the first film from sub-Saharan Africa to be accepted into that category. A senior lecturer in media studies at Murdoch University, Australia, Martin is also the director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Ron Mulvihill

Ron Mulvihill is a director, cinematographer and producer. His first films include the award-winning dramatic short The Marriage of Mariamu, the first ever Tanzanian-American co-production, and We Are Still Here, a documentary about the Native Americans of California.

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