The politics of representation and audience reception: alternative visions of Africa

Catalin Brylla, Florence Ayisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Western media has consistently misrepresented or underrepresented African people and cultures. This article focuses on Florence Ayisi's documentary film practice, which engages with alternative realities and images that portray the lived experiences of African people and how these are manifested in audio-visual representations, including narrative structure and point of view. Her multiple positions as African woman, film lecturer, and filmmaker mean that these documentaries provide a space to challenge the myriad of simplistic representations of African life and societies. The ideas explored in this article will be illustrated through a cross-disciplinary analysis of Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007, 87 mins.) and Art of This Place: Women Artists in Cameroon (2011, 40 mins.). The academic discourse of this article is situated within several academic disciplines: audience reception studies, cognitive film theory, phenomenology, representation, and African film practice, where the experience of filmmaking is politicized and emerges from postcolonial struggles to redefine and counter cultural misrepresentations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125 - 141
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in African literatures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • .africa
  • civilization
  • documentary films


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