Our history hinges on severed hands. And on photographs taken by missionaries who wanted to abolish slavery even as they believed we were inferior to them. Our history hinges on the world believing that we will forever be hopeless and helpless. That we embody suffering. What we embody, I believe, is elemental. It is water, earth, fire, air. Dance. It is pasts and futures. And it has power. So I rethink the clicks and flashes that have cast us in history. And I flirt with liberation from the colonial gaze.
Matata is told primarily through dance. Rhythm, color, and movements, being more than just the film’s subjects, lead it away from prescribed representations of Africa into a new future. A photo shoot of a young fashion model, Sarah, dressed as a replica of a photograph taken during King Léopold II’s brutal colonial rule of Congo, takes an unexpected turn. It spirals into a series of dance-inspired dreamscapes, fading mind projections of historical fragments, and the external, awakening world. As she struggles to reclaim her identity, she encounters historic, contemporary, and futuristic characters who collectively help her piece together her place in Congo’s past, present, and future.
by Petna Ndaliko Katondolo
with Sarah Mukadi Kadima, Mustache Muhanya, Dorine Mokha, Malaika Ndaliko Katondolo, Bienco Hangi, Meshake Lusolo, Amanda Wimana, Cathy Cayenne Chibugu, Olivier Kamara, Hadassa Ngamba
Democratic Republic of the Congo / USA / Netherlands 2019 Without dialogue 37’ Colour & Black/White


  • Sarah Mukadi Kadima (Malaika 1)
  • Mustache Muhanya (Christofer)
  • Dorine Mokha (Angel)
  • Malaika Ndaliko Katondolo (Malaika 2)
  • Bienco Hangi (Spirit 1)
  • Meshake Lusolo (Spirit 2)
  • Amanda Wimana (Medium 1)
  • Cathy Cayenne Chibugu (Malaika 3)
  • Olivier Kamara (Dancer)
  • Hadassa Ngamba (Medium 2)


Written and Directed by Petna Ndaliko Katondolo
Cinematography Petna Ndaliko Katondolo
Editing Petna Ndaliko Katondolo
Music Jaja Bashengezi
Sound Design Lee Weisert
Sound Jack Muhindo
Production Design Ganza Buroko
Costumes Alain Senga
Make-Up Mustache Muhanya
Casting Cherie Rivers Ndaliko Katondolo
Production Manager Bernadette Vivuya
Producers Cherie Ndaliko Katondolo, Katie Donington, Ellen Lammers
Executive Producer Yole!Africa

Produced by

Alkebu Film Production

Nottingham University

Petna Ndaliko Katondolo

Petna Ndaliko Katondolo is a filmmaker, activist, and educator living in Goma and Chapel Hill. His multigenre artistic works are known for their decolonial Afrofuturistic artistic style, which engages historical content to address contemporary sociopolitical and cultural issues. In 2000 he co-founded Yole!Africa and in 2005 he founded the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival. Ndaliko Katondolo teaches and consults regularly for international organizations, addressing social and political inequity among marginalized groups through culture and education. After Matata (2019) and Kapita (2020) this is his third participation with Forum Expanded.

Filmography (selection)

2004 Théâtre Brûlé; 10 min. · Lamokowang; 13 min. 2005 Threatened Fate; 7 min. 2007 Pandisha Bandera; 45 min. 2010 Jazz Mama; 32 min. 2012 Melting Justice; 5 min. 2013 Mabele na Biso; 34 min. 2014 Myth Eyes; 3 min. 2016 The Dead Are Not Dead; 10 min. 2019 Danze; 21 min. · Matata; 37 min., Forum Expanded 2020 2020 Kapita; 22 min., Forum Expanded 2021 2021 Kumbuka

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022