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Barbara Karuana

Kenya & AFDA, 2016

Barbara cares deeply about using film as a medium to tell stories about multiple perspectives of the same issues to foster deeper understanding. She understands and believes in "the danger of a single story" and is committed to breaking this trend especially with regards to the way the world views Africa.

Barbara is the Director of several short films and documentaries. The most recent of these, Homecoming, is a 24 min drama whose themes revolve around the challenges of family reconciliation. In tandem with the production of these films, Barbara has been a part of larger film productions such as SENSE8 (Netflix series) and the award-winning KATI KATI and Supa Modo from Kenya which have both enjoyed successful film festival circuits. An experienced film Production Manager, Barbara has also worked extensively as a local fixer and Producer for international film crews wishing to shoot on location in Kenya.

Barbara holds an Honours degree in Directing and Screenwriting from the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya.

Barbara is a recipient of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship (Class of 2016) which facilitated her year of study at AFDA Cape Town and her eventual receipt of multiple awards for her graduation film including: Best Film, Audience Choice Award, Best Screenplay and Outstanding Achievement in Directing. Barbara is also winner of the 2014 Nairobi edition of the 48 Hour Film Project. Following her formal education, Barbara was selected as a Fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program in Montreal, Canada in the 2017- 2019 cohort. Her time as a Fellow deepened her commitment towards using film and other forms of media as a tool for positive social impact in Africa.

Barbara is currently the Outreach Director for Good Pitch Kenya. Good Pitch is an event that brings together documentary filmmakers with leading change makers around urgent social issues to forge new coalitions that are good for the films and good for society. Barbara’s role at Good Pitch Kenya involves researching and engaging relevant organizations on behalf of the documentary filmmakers in order to form mutually beneficial and long-lasting partnerships.

DecorationBarbara Karuana

Could you be a Mandela Rhodes Scholar?

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Could you be a Scholar?


We look for young Africans who have demonstrated the potential to embody our founding principles of reconciliation, education, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

On 1 January 2023, I will be between the age of 19 and 29

I am a citizen of an African country

I have an undergraduate degree with above-average academic results (70% + or Upper Second Class Honours)


We look for young leaders who aspire to the principles below and who have demonstrated the potential to live them out.


Do you aspire to be a visionary leader who has moral authority? Do you see leadership as more than just personal ambition - as a way to pursue the advancement of equality and freedom, human rights and human dignity? And do you want to guide and inspire others to reach their full potential?


Do you admire Nelson Mandela’s ability to bridge historic divides through our common humanity? Do you believe that reconciliation and reparation are the key to transforming our societies so that everyone can have equal opportunity to thrive? And are you prepared to begin by grappling with your own internal divides and difficulties first?


Do you have excellent academic results, but believe that your education should not only benefit you but make a difference to others? And do you understand that intellectual excellence must be accompanied by character and a rounded personality?


Do you want to see Africa take its rightful place as an equal and competitive presence in the global world? Have you demonstrated individual effort, innovation and creativity to this end?


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