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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Leaving Africa

“But once we have learned we start changing our homes,” says Daizy, a youthful-looking 34 year-old mother of 8. Daizy attends classes held by COFCAWE where she learns about gender equality and sexual health. It may sound like pretty standard stuff but in Uganda this is huge. Daizy, beaming with pride, later appears on a local radio show where she talks about how taking birth control has changed her life. Suddenly her husband phones in to the show. He thanks COFCAWE for their work and for including men in the process of empowering women.

The above was made possible by two friends, Finnish Riitta and Ugandan Kata who have been living and working together for over two decades.

One day an anonymous letter is sent to the Ugandan parliament accusing their organisation COFCAWE of promoting homosexuality amongst children. The result is an 11 month struggle to renew work permits. As the fate of COFCAWE remains uncertain the two friends reflect on their friendship and work together as Riitta plans to return home to Finland for her retirement.

The dynamic between the very upright, almost masculine Riitta and the emotional and vivacious Kat, is as enjoyable to watch as their friendship is heartwarming.

Ultimately Leaving Africa is about women empowering women, in simple, everyday ways, even if it means just being a loyal friend.

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