Leaving Africa

( Finland / 2015 )
Finnish doctor Riitta has been working in Uganda for more than 25 years. Together with her Ugandan friend Catherine, she brings sex education to Ugandan villages, challenging priests, imams, women and their husbands to discussions on women's rights to their bodies, sexuality and life. In ultra-conservative Uganda, this soon leads to serious complications, jeopardizing their entire life's work. This is a film about the quest for gender equality in Africa and the world's greatest challenge - mitigating the population explosion.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 58/85 min.
Theme: Activism, African Cinema and Culture, Education, Family, Food, Gender, Globalization, Health see all »
Language(s): English, Finnish, Luganda
Subtitles: English
Director(s): Iiris Harma
Producer(s): Visa Koiso-Kanttila
Cinematographer: Visa Koiso-Kanttila
Editor(s): Niels Pagh Andersen
Excluded regions: Sweden, Finland
Leaving Africa


  • Combining its important sociological message with compelling human drama, Leaving Africa offers a deeply personal view of Uganda's continuing policy of sexual oppression directed toward women and homosexuals.
    The Hollywood Reporter
  • Leaving Africa is a powerful film that deals sensitively with these volatile issues.
    POV Magazine
  • A powerful portrait of a pair of strong-willed women trying to create positive social change in an extremely negative environment, this is recommended.
    Video Librarian

awards & accolades

  • Doc Point Helsinki, Finland - Audience Award Winner
  • Festival SiciliAmbiente, Italy - Best Documentary Winner

Festival participation

  • Hot Docs Toronto, Canada 2015
  • Doc Point Helsinki, Finland 2015
  • Festival SiciliAmbiente, Italy 2015
  • Antenna Documentary Film Festival, Australia 2015
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK 2015
  • Leeds International Film Festival, UK 2015
  • Moscow International Film Festival 2015

viewers comments


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Additional Info

Production Company: Guerilla Films
Distribution Company: First Hand Films

  • Director's Statement

    The gender equality is progressing in small steps. I find that it is extremely important to show the work done for equality matters. I am fascinated by how the religion and sexuality are so closely entangled in this film. It has been interesting to witness the dialogues between religious leaders when they exchange their views on issues around sex and sexuality and then reflect these views on the stories of individual women whose lives are directly affected by these values. Somehow this film is very comforting on a way how it brings people of different faiths together in order to tackle common social problems.

    I am also interested to seek answers for these questions: what are the benefits of development cooperation? How does it help the community and what is its significance? What are the motives of the aid workers? I’m very happy that I can examine these issues through the emotional story of very unique and warm friendship of Finnish and Ugandan woman and share the humor and wisdom they have.

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Leaving Africa

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