“SARRAOUINIA” means queen in the Hausa language.

This name was given to an Amazon, political and religious leader of the village of Lougou in Niger.

Oral tradition made the queen a popular figure in the Niger loop, magnifying her resistance against the French, lending her magical powers.

However, in 1980 Niger writer Mamani Abdoulaye dedicated a novel to her (“Sarraouinia”: Le drame de la reine magicienne), making her a figure in the collective imagination of Niger and, more broadly, Africa.

The novel was adapted in cinema in 1986 by filmmaker Med Hondo with actress Aï KEITA in the leading role and financial support from Burkina Faso.


The film won the festival’s grand prize, the Etalon de Yennenga, in 1987 (presented by Captain Thomas SANKARA a few months before his death), in addition to the OAU (now African Union) Prize.

In 2010, FESPACO created the African Women’s Cinematographic Days (JCFA) and instituted the “Sarraouinia” trophies to recognize and celebrate the merit of the film industry “Amazons” in Africa.


Through this legendary figure of “Sarraouinia”, the visual is in keeping with the theme of FESPACO 2023 which is “African Cinema and Culture of Peace”, highlighting:

a female fighter with her warrior attributes at a time when Defence and Security Forces and Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland must be brought to the limelight, to honour their sacrifice, courage and patriotic commitment.

a woman with a clenched fist, determined and committed to social change, fighting against intolerance, social misbehaviour, violence, insecurity and terrorism that undermine any effort for the harmonious development of our motherland and well-being.

a symbol of African pride, resistance and resilience that has made its way into African textbooks.

In short, the visual of the 28th Edition of FESPACO pays tribute to all those queens from Africa and worldwide who, through their self-sacrifice, conviction and perseverance, have contributed day and night to defending culture and maintaining peace.


Download the visual here