Subira, since her childhood, has been a free spirit, a young Muslim girl born to be in the water. She loves to swim and to go fishing with her father – much to her mother’s dismay. In her element in the ocean, Subira dreams of swimming competitively, as the boys do. But when her father dies in a boating accident, suddenly she’s not allowed to swim at all anymore. Subira now finds herself firmly in the clutches of her traditional mother, Mwana, whose single- minded aim is to arrange a good marriage for her daughter.

The film tells the story both of Subira's arranged marriage at 18 to the handsome and progressive Taquif and her quest to finally learn how to swim. Are the two compatible? This searing family drama vividly captures the paradox of modernity versus tradition. 

Director Sippy Chadha has expanded her award-winning short film of the same name to make an engaging feature-length drama about a young woman’s fight to follow her dreams.


SUBIRA Feature Film has won 5 top Kalasha Awards.

1. Best Feature Film – Ravneet Sippy Chadha and Vibeke Muasya

2. Best Director – Ravneet Sippy Chadha

3. Best Lighting Technician – Saul Ogada

4. Best Lead Actress in a Film – Brenda Wairimu

5. Best Editing – Roselidah Taabu & Terry Kelly

Subjects: African Studies, African Cinema, World Cinema

Institutional Licensing Options

DVD with PPR: $349

DVD with Digital Site License: $449

DVD with Digital Site License + Public Performance Rights: $499

Institutional Licensing Options

YEAR: 2018
GENRE: Feature Film – Drama
DURATION: 99 min
COUNTRY: Kenya, Denmark
DIRECTOR: Sippy Chadha
WRITER: Sippy Chadha
CAST: Brenda Wairimu, Tirath Padam, Nice Githinji, Melvin Alusa