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About the Film

The grandmothers of Africa have watched their own children — an entire generation of young adults — die of AIDS. As a result, grandmothers have become the primary caregivers for millions of orphaned grandchildren. This moving new documentary from the Stephen Lewis Foundation shines a light on the urgent need to provide better protection for the human rights of African grandmothers. They are subject to high rates of violence, an epidemic of property grabbing, extreme poverty, and woefully inadequate healthcare.

This film centres on the SLF’s African Grandmothers Tribunal, held in Vancouver BC in 2013. The film begins in Africa, and highlights six of these courageous grandmothers as they prepare to give powerful and emotional testimony before the Tribunal judges: Gloria Steinem, Joy Phumaphi, Theo Sowa and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond — culminating in this passionate call to action:

“Our labour, with all of its struggles, challenges, knowledge and triumphs, has gone unheeded for too long. We will not let the AIDS pandemic defeat us, but we cannot prevail alone. We call on you to act with urgency to support our efforts to secure justice.”

The film sends a timely message: a rights-based response to the HIV and AIDS crisis is necessary to build a sustainable future for sub-Saharan Africa. The goal must be the restored health and well-being of the people who live in the countries hardest hit by HIV and AIDS, and the promise of decent futures that they can work together to build. From this perspective, what happens to the grandmothers matters hugely. The women who testified at this Tribunal have become leaders, showing the way to resurrect lives, families and communities devastated by AIDS. They came to the African Grandmothers Tribunal to have their voices heard, and to claim their human rights.

Directed by Neal Hicks. Produced by Ilana Landsberg-Lewis and Joanna Henry (Executive Producers) and Neal Hicks. Written by Neal Hicks and Lee Waldorf. 43 minutes. 2014. English with some subtitles.


Take Action


The Tribunal

  • Tribunal Website — read more about the event and the testifiers, expert witnesses and judges on the official Tribunal website.
  • Tribunal Report — read the full Tribunal report or download the PDF.
  • Special Edition of Grassroots newsletter — read the Fall 2013 issue of our newsletter, a special edition dedicated to the African Grandmothers Tribunal.

Contact Us

For more information on the film, contact us at info@stephenlewisfoundation.org or call us at 1-888-203-9990.

To order a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the film ($20, including all shipping & handling), please contact us at info@stephenlewisfoundation.org or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 0.

For more information on the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, contact Graham Coultas, Director of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign at gcoultas@stephenlewisfoundation.org or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 234.

For any media inquiries, please contact Alexis MacDonald, Director of External Relations at amacdonald@stephenlewisfoundation.org or by phone at 1-888-203-9990, ext. 300.

For access to our Tribunal photo gallery, please click here.
For the password, please contact Alexis MacDonald, Director of External Relations at amacdonald@stephenlewisfoundation.org or by phone at 1-888-203-9990, ext. 300.