December 8, 2023

Reaching For Gold is currently having a cross-continental premiere, having already made its debut in Accra, Kigali, and London.

By Helena Olori

Emily Nkanga, a Nigerian-British photographer and filmmaker, has marked her directorial debut with a captivating short film, Reaching For Gold.

The short documentary follows the story of a local boxing club in Nigeria as two passionate coaches – one a former Olympian – invest their time, resources, and skills in guiding young people in the locale, introducing them to the art of boxing, and veering them away from the life of crime in the streets.

Reaching for Gold - Emily Nkanga - Afrocritik

The film highlights the successes of their daunting yet inspiring feat, focusing on the only two female boxers, Dorcas and Idara, mentored by these coaches.

Stills from Reaching For Gold - Afrocritik
Stills from Reaching For Gold

Stills from Reaching For Gold - Afrocritik

Reaching For Gold - Emily Nkanga - Afrocritik

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Dorcas and Idara’s story is emblematic of the struggles and tenacity of many young Nigerians who, despite the infrastructural challenges, government apathy and neglect, defy the odds to compete on the global stage. Reaching For Gold not only celebrates their accomplishments but also sheds light on the unwavering commitment and resilience that define their path to success.

In support of the main characters – Dorcas and Idara – GÒKÈ, the executive producers of the documentary, have launched a fundraising campaign, with the entire proceeds going directly to them.

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Prior to the release of her debut film, Emily Nkanga has worked as a seasoned photographer and filmmaker with over 8 years of experience. 

Emily Nkanga - Reaching for Gold- Afrocritik
Nigerian-British filmmaker, Emily Nkanga. Photo credit: Zachary Gammiere

Her distinctive lifestyle and portrait photography style earned her acclaim from big wigs in West Africa and Britain such as Burna Boy, Joeboy, Kelechi Okafor, and Tammy Abraham, and major players in the entertainment industry such as Amazon Studios, Sony Music, Universal Music, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, amongst others. 

Nkanga’s work on Reaching For Gold is complemented by Tosand and Ubok Akpan‘s expertise as producer and director of photography. The film has already made its debut in Accra, Kigali, and London, and more to come. 

Watch the trailer here.

To support Dorcas and Idara’s cause, please visit this link.

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