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Filmmaker and photographer, Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann embarks on a journey that takes her to the island of Lamu. Her intentions, to make a documentary about the effects on Lamu’s community and environment as it transforms from an obscure, predominantly Muslim Stone town to a huge Port town.

A gigantic port project and coal plant are the external elements that threaten to disrupt the rhythm of Lamu however the real disruption is that Philippa as we watch her confront a new spiritual awareness. Her commitment to a path of self-discovery takes her to a woman called Raya and her young sons, Ahmed and Abu Bakr.

It is in their home that she finds a narrative anchor and a more personal entry point into the mysteries of this old town. Fragments of Lamu life unfold like chapters in a book: a man scaling a fish, children bathing by a dock, a baptism, a visual diary of a woman not entirely sure of where she is headed. With her deepest instincts guiding her, we see Ms. Ndisi Herrmann tackle the contradictions of being a modern, liberal woman embracing Islam and grappling with the complexities of her chosen faith.

EDITOR – Angela Wamai
SCORE – Tiago Correia-Paolo
FINAL MIX – Eric Musyoka



Philippa was born in Germany and raised in Kenya. She studied scriptwriting and Directing at AFDA, Cape Town.

A fellow of RAW Académie 2016, her Visual Poem Seeds won the Ecumenical Jury Award at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen 2017. She has exhibited at Turner Contemporary (UK, 2017), at The National Museum with Goethe Institut (Kenya, 2013) and, in collaboration with The Sundance Institute, at MoCADA (New York City, 2011).

Drawn to narratives about Children and Women, Philippa has a personal interest in Psychic Ancestry, Spirituality and the poetry of the Ocean.
She has directed numerous music videos and short films. She has just completed a feature-length documentary, New Moon (formerly The Donkey that Carried the Cloud on its Back).

In 2012, under a pen name, a selection of her poetry was published in Reflections: An Anthology of New Work by African Women Poets. Philippa vibrates and creates in the realm of still and moving words and images. She has a penchant for cooking, laughing with kindred spirits, dancing to songs that touch her heart and reading Maulana Rumi.