I Am Not a Witch: Striking Debut of Zambia-Born Director Rungano Nyoni Featuring Maggie Mulubwa

The National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), of which I am a proud member, recognizes every year excellent films that deserve theatrical distribution.

Set in present-day Zambia, I Am Not a Witch is the impressive debut of writer-director Rungano Nyoni, featuring a great performance by a girl names Maggie Mulubwa.

Mulubwa plays orphan Shula, who is falsely  accused of witchcraft and forced to join a travelling witch show. She’s mistreated yet also respected for her abilities to pick felons out of line-ups.

The movie is effective as both a satire of patriarchy and gender and critique of superstition and witchcraft.

Mr. Banda (Henry BJ Phiri), a public official who exploits Shula for profit, is a sexist patriarch who uses and abuses women for his own good.

The Zambian-born, Welsh-raised director Nyoni spent time in actual ‘witch camps’ in order to observe first hand the operation of such archaic and dangerous institutions, finding their very existence to be utterly shocking.