Rwandan film director Yuhi Amuli’s latest film "A Taste of Our Land" is a unique take on the extortion, oppression and injustices by foreign investors tin Africa.
The 84-minute film that recently debuted in Kigali is mainly in English, Chinese and Swahili and stars Michael Wawuyo Sr as Yohani and Peter Kye as Cheng.
In powerful scenes that depict deceit, greed, betrayal and injustice, the film introduces Yohani, an elderly family man who is in an argument with his pregnant wife Mariya as she urges him to go to the mines to fi nd a job.
Yohani is hesitant, yet because the family is fi nancially constrained, he visits the mines, but not for a job. Alongside a village administrator, Yohani demands compensation from the mines authorities since they are using his land, but have never paid him.
Cheng, the Chinese mine supervisor, adamantly brags that as investors, they have already sorted out issues with the government and do not need to address Yohani’s issue.
Donald, a British mining expert, reveals to Cheng that the mines also hold tons of gold and request a partnership with the Chinese to mine it. Cheng turns down the request.
When a gold rock is discovered, it is Yohani who dares fetch it from the old pit latrine.
He runs away with it to Donald, hoping to sell the gold. Cheng comes in search of Yohani who is in hiding and a fight ensues between the two foreigners, in which Donald loses his life.
In a series of greed, betrayal and misfortune, Yohani pays a high price.
This being his first feature film, Amuli, who is also an alumnus of 2021 Berlinale Talents and the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival Filmmakers Lab, shows expertise in directing vast races, approaching a bold and controversial topic, and the professional delivery of strong appealing motion pictures.
The film recently emerged winner of the Best Actor Award at the 2022 Festival du Cinéma Africain de Khouribga, a prominent fi lm festival hosted by Morocco. The award was won by Michael Wawuyo Sr.
The 2020 film first premiered at the 2021 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it won the juried Best First Feature Narrative Award. It also won Best First Film by a Director Award at the 2021 African Movie Academy Awards.
Amuli’s other works include short fi lms Ishaba (2015), Akarwa (2017) and Kazungu (2018).