I live and work in London and Accra Ghana, where I spend a few months every year making films for the Institute of African Studies, the University of Ghana, Legon.
I am a documentary filmmaker and writer with over thirty years experience in broadcast journalism. I’ve made documentaries for BBC1, BBC2, BBC4, ITV and C4. Throughout my career, I’ve combined a love of television and radio with a passion for writing. This has given me an excellent sense of narrative structure, an ability to convey the drama at the heart of a problem, and the confidence to devise entertaining ways of reaching the widest audience possible. Having worked on film, Beta, DV and HD with actors and presenters in studios, and on location in Europe, America, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa, I’m able to gain access to very different types of people as well as supervise the editing and scripting of documentaries.
I have called myself a feminist since my early twenties, when I was the leader of a Cambridge research expedition to investigate female-headed households in urban and rural communities in Jamaica. Ever since then, trying to understand the cultural, economic and social relationships that underpin the choices available to women, has been a determining factor in my life.
I believe that the primary challenge facing African feminists today is to get women’s voices heard and taken seriously. Secondly, we need to organise ourselves in such a way that we have a meaningful impact on government policies, to ensure that the economic basis of women’s lives improves; and that every woman, especially the poorest, realises her full potential. Thirdly we should activate national debates about cultural practises underlined by religious beliefs, which demonise and encourage violence towards women.
In order to strengthen the feminist movement in Africa, we need coordinated regional and national solidarity, cooperation and dissemination of information; a clearer, concerted communication presence in national media landscapes; and more effective use of film and radio to promote feminist goals to the widest audience possible
In my personal and professional life, as a broadcast journalist and filmmaker I’ve made films addressing these matters. In 1983 ‘Lost Harvest’, part of the series ‘Global Report’ for BBC2, investigated the abuse of the land rights of women rice farmers by their male counterparts, thanks to the ethnocentric approach adopted by IFAD in implementing irrigated rice farming in The Gambia. More recently I’ve completed a documentary film ‘The Witches of Gamgaba’ about a community of women in the Northern Region of Ghana, condemned to live away from their families because they are believed to be witches.
I am inspired by good writing, good film-making as well as transparent, honest politicians, both male and female.