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To move away from being judgmental of oneself and of others is the greatest challenge, and through a documentary, this aspect of one’s approach is always tested, and sometimes one succeeds and sometimes not, but that is part of the process.
– Akiedah Mohamed in an interview with Sindre Bangstad of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World
Known For: Documentary filmmaker
Dates: 1971 CE -
Country: South Africa
Akiedah Mohamed is an award-winning South African documentary filmmaker, writer, and playwright. Born and raised in Cape Town, she now lives in Johannesburg.
Among her best known films is The Malawian Kiss (1999), which follows the life of Faghmeda Miller, a Muslim HIV/AIDS activist. For the documentary, Akiedah received the Sithengi International Film Market’s Special Jury Merit Award. Her films deal with sensitive or under-addressed issues that affect her religious community or South African society in general. These themes include polygamy, South Africa’s prison system, and death and dying. More recently, she adapted a short story by South African author Ahmed Essop about interracial romance into a screenplay titled Gerty’s Brother.
Akiedah speaks of “a very conscious decision to explore a wider range of experiences of being Muslim” that has yielded a focus on subjects like the second wife in a polygamous marriage or a woman dealing with her HIV-positive diagnosis.1 This decision comes from a belief that it is important to move beyond the ideal represented by visible public figures in the public sphere in order to provide a truer picture of any community.2 She says in an interview that she aims through her writing and filmmaking to give a voice to “the other half of the Muslim population.”3
In addition to magnifying the voices of the underrepresented, Akiedah has used her talents for the good of her community in other ways: she was recognized by the city of Cape Town for her contributions to a sitcom-style “edutainment video” raising awareness of AIDS.4 She collaborated with comedian Mark Lottering for the project.
Akiedah is a member of the executive board of Women of the Sun, an organization whose goal is the advancement and promotion of women in African film and television industries.
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