African Grandmothers Tribunal film

About the Film

This moving documentary from the Stephen Lewis Foundation shines a light on the urgent need to provide better protection for the human rights of African grandmothers. Grandmothers are the primary caregivers for a large number of children left orphaned and vulnerable by HIV & AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. But their ability to care for these children, and for themselves, is greatly compromised by the effects of gender- and age-based discrimination. They are subject to high rates of violence, an epidemic of property grabbing, extreme poverty, and woefully inadequate healthcare.

This film centres on the 2013 People's Tribunal in Vancouver, BC which provided a public platform for grandmothers to voice their human rights' claims. The Tribunal judges identified the rights violations and the remedies required under human rights law. At the closing of the Tribunal, the grandmothers issued their call to action, declaring: “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 & AIDS crisis is necessary to build a sustainable future for sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions can't be limited to reducing new infections, but must also incorporate strategies for rebuilding and strengthening lives, families and communities.

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

  • Organize a screening — We are happy to help you plan a film screening event! We've included some resources below, and of course feel free to be in touch with us directly.
    • How to Organize a Screening — learn how to organize a screening in your community, or print this handout for your audience!
    • Programme — print this programme for the audience at your screening event—or contact us and we will send you copies.
  • Order a DVD copy of the film ($20, including all shipping & handling): please contact us at or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 0.

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 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 or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 0.


LGBTIQ organizations in Africa reporting human rights abuses linked to COVID-19 May 19, 2020

Stephen Lewis Foundation / Canada, Press release

World will survive COVID-19 only if 'swift action' taken to help Africa, UN humanitarian says March 25, 2020

Matt Galloway and Idella Sturino, Toronto, Canada, CBC Radio: The Current

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