Neria (1993), dir. Godwin Mawuru

Neria (1993) – A British Academy Research project (2017-2019)


In this British Academy funded research project we have for uncovered new aspects to the iconic Neria (1993) movie. For example, we have learnt that the story of a woman fighting for her rights after her husband’s demise was based on the director’s mother and therefore on his own life.

Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska who was the Principle Investigator on the research project (2017-2019) made a short documentary film which includes the interviews with the main characters in the film.  The research project as well as this presentation will ask questions regarding the collaborative nature of the production, which was written and produced by the Americans John and Louise Riber who now live in Tanzania.

Neria (1993) is accepted as a landmark production not only in Zimbabwe but in the whole of the southern African region as it was the first ever fiction film directed by a black filmmaker in the region and it is considered the first feminist film not only in Zimbabwe, or the region but in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. The story was directed by Godwin Mawuru and it sent shockwaves across Africa with its main character Jesesi Mungoshi beating the acclaimed Whoopi Goldberg (Sarafina) to the best M-net actress award of 1992.

Godwin Mawuru – director, Neria (1993)
Jesesi Mungoshi – leading actress Neria 1993

It was a collaborative effort between white Americans John and Louse Ribers and the local artistic community. It became the highest-grossing film in Zimbabwean history.

Trailer for the documentary (2019)

Neria (1993) – creative collaborations – trailer

About the Principle Investigator

Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska is an award winning filmmaker and a theorist. She is a Reader in Film Theory and Practice at the University of Bedfordshire, UK. She is best known for her aclaimed cult documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower (2009) screened globally in 60 countries.

Piotrowska has written extensively on psychoanalysis and cinema and is the author of the  monographs  Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film (2014, Routledge) Black and White: cinema, politics and the arts in Zimbabwe (2017) and The Nasty Woman and neo femme fatale in contemporary cinema (2019).

She has edited 3 books on psychoanalysis and cinema including Femininity and Psychoanalysis (2019) .Piotrowska’s feature film Escape (2017)made in a collaborative partnership with Zimbabwean artists won awards.


Her new experimental work Repented (2019) was also screened globally to much acclaim.  


In June 2019 Piotrowska was a speaker on two BFI panels during the controversial Playing the Bitch season. She is a founding scholar at the British Psychoanalytic Council. In 2020 she was invited to be responsible for the film section of the iconic psychoanalytic journal Free Associations. Her new book on creative practice research is published with Edinburgh University Press in June 2020.


Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska


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