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Yaaba is a 1989 Burkinabé drama film written, produced, and directed by Idrissa Ouedraogo. It won the Sakura Gold prize at the 1989 Tokyo Film Festival.[1] The film was selected as the Burkinabé entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[2]

Film poster
Directed byIdrissa Ouedraogo
Produced byArcadia Films, Les Films de l'avenir, Télévision suisse romande, Thelma Film AG
Written byIdrissa Ouedraogo
Screenplay byIdrissa Ouédraogo
StarringFatimata Sanga, Noufou Ouedraogo, Roukietou Barry, Adama Ouedraogo, Amadé Tour
Music byFrancis Bebey
CinematographyMatthias Kälin
Edited byLoredana Cristelli
Distributed byNew Yorker Films (U.S.)
Release date
  • September 14, 1989 (1989-09-14) (TIFF)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryBurkina Faso
Box office$55,000

The film was the subject of a short documentary Parlons Grand-mère, which was shot during the film's production by Djibril Diop Mambéty.



In a small African village, Bila (Noufou Ouédraogo), a ten-year-old boy, makes friends with an old woman called Sana (Fatimata Sanga), who has been accused of witchcraft by her village, and has become a social outcast. Only Bila is respectful of her, and calls her "Yaaba" (Grandmother).

When Bila's cousin, Nopoko (Roukietou Barry), falls ill, a medicine man insists that Sana has stolen the girl's soul. Sana undergoes a long and gruelling but ultimately successful journey to find a medicine to save Nopoko's life, but is still treated as a witch.

After Sana dies, the real reason why she is hated in the village is uncovered, but the love and wisdom she invested in Bila and Nopoko lives on.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Tokyo film festival gives big cash awards". Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

External linksEdit