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Wanuri Kahiu (“Pumzi”) Prepping Doc On Afro-Electro-Pop Group Just A Band; Gets Funding Boost

Wanuri Kahiu ("Pumzi") Prepping Doc On Afro-Electro-Pop Group Just A Band; Gets Funding Boost

I love this group! Like many others, my introduction to them was their 2009 album 82, although it didn’t seem to really gain international attention until the following year.

The video for the second single from the album – Ha-He – was probably what really did it, especially here in the USA. It was a spoof of blaxploitation films, featuring a protagonist named “Makmende“. The video went super-viral within a short time, and was described as Kenya’s first viral internet meme, leading to features in the national media on the group on CNN, in The Wall Street Journal and others.

Pumzi director Wanuri Kahiu (along with Anjali Nayar) who shouldn’t be a stranger to S&A readers, is working on a feature documentary on the group, titled Just A Band: The Movie; she describes the project as…

… a kaleidoscopic portrait of four artistically eclectic twenty-somethings who form Kenya’s super nerdy Afro-electro-pop group Just A Band. The film follows them through projects and performances – from their out-of-control street parties in downtown Nairobi to the making of their blaxploitation music-mentry HA-HE, which became Kenya’s first Internet meme.

I’m sold. 

Announced earlier today, the project was one of 6 selected (from 140 submissions from over 29 countries in Africa) by the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Blue Ice Group that will receive a total of $115,000 in development and production grants from the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund in its first round of disbursements.

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is a $1-million production fund that provides financial support to independent filmmakers based in developing African countries, with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of social, cultural and political documentaries produced on the continent.

Grant recipients will also be attending Hot Docs 2012, and will participate in International Co-Production Day on April 30, and take part in the filmmakers’ lab on April 28 and 29.

The application process for the second round of disbursements will be open June 25 to August 20, 2012. For further information on the application process, eligibility requirements and deadlines, visit

Looking forward to seeing this eventually.

Here’s the Ha-He video that went viral almost 2 years ago:

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