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 byPetna Ndaliko Katondolo
CinematographyPetna Ndaliko Katondolo
EditingPetna Ndaliko Katondolo
MusicJaja Bashengezi
Sound DesignLee Weisert
SoundJack Muhindo
Production DesignGanza Buroko
CostumesAlain Senga
Make-UpMustache Muhanya
CastingCherie Rivers Ndaliko Katondolo
Production ManagerBernadette Vivuya
ProducersCherie Ndaliko Katondolo, Katie Donington, Ellen Lammers
Executive ProducerYole!Africa

Produced by

Alkebu Film Production

Nottingham University

Petna Ndaliko Katondolo

Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, born in 1974 in Goma, Congo, is a filmmaker, activist, and educator living between his hometown and Chapel Hill, USA. His multi-genre artistic works are known for their decolonial Afrofuturistic artistic style, which engages historical content to address contemporary sociopolitical and cultural issues. In 2000, he founded Yole!Africa, a non-profit organization that serves as a hub for education and social innovation for artists, civil society leaders, and journalists in the east of Congo. In 2005 he founded the Congo International Film Festival (formerly known as the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival). In addition to serving as Artistic Director of both Yole!Africa and the Congo International Film Festival, Ndaliko Katondolo also teaches and consults regularly for international organizations, addressing social and political inequity among marginalized groups through culture and education. He is currently the Artist in Residence at the Stone Center for Black History and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2020 his film Matata was part of Forum Expanded.


2004 Théâtre Brûlé; 10 min. · Lamokowang; 13 min. 2005 Threatened Fate; 7 min. · Ma-dia; 7 min. · Goma Capitale du Cinéma; 21 min. 2007 Pandisha Bandera; 45 min. 2008 True Story Short; 13 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

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021