docLOVE March: The Sound of Masks

docLOVE March: The Sound of Masks

Please join docLOVE for a special screening of The Sound of Masks directed by DFA member Sara de Gouveia:

Amazwi Museum, Makhanda | 23 March at 2pm | RSVP via

Bertha House, Mowbray, Cape Town | 29 March at 6pm | RSVP via

The Bioscope Independent Cinema, Milpark, Johannesburg | 30 March at 8pm | RSVP via Bioscope website

Mapiko is a traditional masked dance performed exclusively by the male members of the Makonde community living in northern Mozambique. During the Mozambican War of Independence in the 1960s, this dance became a tool to challenge colonization. His Mapiko dancing skills gave Atanásio Nyusi the opportunity to become a professional dancer and avoid fighting in the civil war that followed independence. In relating his life story, the now legendary dancer also leads us through the history of Mozambique.

Completely concealed except for his fingers and toes and wearing a frightening mask, a man dances to tell the story of Lipanyangule, a mystical figure who eats children. The dance is choreographed by Nyusi, and it communicates not only the ancient legend itself, but also his own history, and that of his people and country. Are the memories in his head real, or are they nightmares? In the sparse but effectively used archive footage, we see flashes of Mozambique’s colonial past, independence struggle and civil war in a dynamic interplay with the dance. As Nyusi shares his story with his son, he offers an in-depth look at the country’s collective memories while working towards leaving his own legacy as an artist.

Funded by the IDFA Bertha Fund, the Hot Docs Blue-Ice Development Fund, the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa and RTP


Atanásio Nyusi, the protagonist, passed away in November 2022 and docLOVE is humbled to be able to participate in a series of screenings that are a tribute to him. 

Sara Gouveia is an award winning filmmaker. She has worked as a writer, director and cinematographer in feature and short documentaries, commercials, online campaigns and music videos.Sara’s first feature length documentary The Sound of Masks, set in Mozambique, had its World Premiere at IDFA 2018 and was officially selected for the Marrakesh International Film Festival 2018, Hot Docs 2019, New York African Film Festival and the Durban International Film Festival. It received the award for Best Feature Documentary at the Plateau International Film Festival 2019 and the 14th SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Cinematography as well as SAFTA nominations for Best Feature Documentary and Best Editing in 2020. In 2021 the film received the awards for Best International Feature and Best Direction at the 7th Brasil Festival of International Cinema.

Sara has since finished the mid-length film Mother to Mother, which Premiered at the 2020 Encounters South African Film Festival and has received SAFTA nominations for Best Documentary Film, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Design, winning the Writer’s Guild of South Africa Muse award for Best Documentary Script 2020. Her film Like Water was SAFTA nominated for Best Documentary Short 2021.


The docLOVE programme is made possible by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP3) administered by the NFVF.