The Boda Boda Thieves

In Kampala, Uganda, the city streets are always grid- locked and congested with traffic and the fastest way to travel is on motorbike taxis called “boda bodas”. The men who drive these boda bodas have a reputation for being tough hustlers; after all, you have to think quickly to survive Kampala traffic.

City life has been unkind to a small family consisting of Goodman, Rosa and their teenage son Abel. Their hopes of finding a better life in the city have turned into a nightmare of daily subsistence. When young Abel is first entrusted with the family boda boda it isn’t too long before things go wrong. This film follows Abel on his quest through the city and in the process gains an insider’s view of urban Africa, its underworld and the generation gap between urban migrants and their first generation children.

The greatest migration in human history is happening right now in sub-Saharan Africa. People are leaving the land and villages to stream into the cities in numbers that dwarf any other exodus. They come in search of a better life. Sometimes they find it, more often they don’t. Their numbers swell the burgeoning ghettos that surround the urban centres. Our story deals with this huge issue from the perspective of one small family trying to make it in the city.

The Boda Boda Thieves as a concept is a homage and tribute to the great Italian neo-realist film The Bicycle Thief  (1948) by Vittorio De Sica. Our film is not a remake or re-interpretation, but an original work freely inspired by the classic. We do endeavour to remain true to the spirit of the classic and the Italian neo-realists. The intention is to update realism with a youthful edge.

This is another Yes! That’s Us film and as such we stay true to our working method of using a small mobile crew of multi-tasking people making media with a message. Uganda has received a lot of bad press lately due to a raft of repressive laws against homosexuality, freedom of expression and even miniskirts. Not all Ugandan’s have fallen for these political stunts though.

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