Boniface Mwangi’s documenary ‘Softie’ premieres in Kenyan cinemas
Activist Boniface Mwangi’s docufilm Softie that chronicles his life and family premiered on Friday in various cinemas across the country.
Mwangi, his wife and children, who are the main casts in the documentary, attended the Prestige Cinema premiere to enjoy the documentary with friends, colleagues and family.
The 96-minute film – named ‘Softie’ after his childhood nickname – sheds light on the lesser known struggles and accomplishments of the sociopolitical activist.
Speaking after the viewing of the film, Mwangi said he was not sure if he will watch the documentary again.
“I have watched it twice and every time I did, I cried. I saw what I put my family through. Before watching the film, it never crossed my mind what I was putting my family through in a pursuit for a better Kenya,” an emotional Mwangi said.
Mwangi ran for the Starehe parliamentary seat in the 2017 general election under the Ukweli Party but lost to musician-turned-politician Charles ‘Jaguar’ Kanyi.
Before the election, Mwangi was always found in the street protesting and championing against various ills, which meant he had less time with his family.
“I was happy that he lost not because he was not good, he was the best for Starehe. But I was glad he lost, so he can spend time with his children,” Njeri said.
His wife, Njeri, has long been silent in the background. The decision to run put her and the family on the spot. This brings forth a central question that many of the world’s brightest and most effective change makers have had to ask themselves, ‘What comes first – family or country?’
Even after watching the film twice, Mwangi was hard-pressed to answer the question ‘What comes first – family or country?’
However, Njeri admitted that Mwangi was now a better father and more present in their lives.
The film premiered at Sundance in January, winning a special jury prize for editing. It has been greatly reviewed, citing its conscientious story telling of Kenya’s struggle with political tribalism.
It has since played at several prestigious festivals including CPH:DOX, FullFrame and even won Best Film at the Encounters International Documentary Festival and Best Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) 2020.
The DIFF win means that Softie now qualifies for consideration for the Oscar documentary shortlist for the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The next ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on April 25, 2021.
For the next two weeks the docu-film will be screening in Eldoret (Rupa Cinema), Mombasa (Nyali Cinemax), Kisumu (Mega Cinema) and at Prestige Cinema, Anga Diamond Plaza, Motion Cinema and Westgate Cinema, in Nairobi.