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PUMZI takes on post-apocalyptic dystopia, Kenyan-style

Award-winning writer/director Wanuri Kahiu / Recursor.TV

Award-winning writer/director Wanuri Kahiu

There isn’t a lot of indie sci fi coming out of Africa these days. That’s one thing that makes PUMZI stand out. PUMZI is the visionary post-apocalyptic dystopian short sci fi film from acclaimed Kenyan writer and director Wanuri Kahiu.

The post-apocalyptic sci-fi indie short is set 35 years after World War III has destroyed the world’s ecology. Humanity has retreated underground, living in completely self-contained compounds.

Post-apocalyptic dystopian style, Kenyan-style, in PUMZI /Recursor.TV

PUMZI asks, what do you do when resources are scarce?

One such compound is the Maitu Community in East Africa, where a young botanist named Asha (portrayed by the luminous Kudzani Moswela) receives a mysterious delivery that signifies new hope for the world — moisture-rich, uncontaminated soil.

The determined Asha defies her totalitarian government’s edict to destroy the soil sample and remain underground. Escaping to the surface, she embarks on a perilous quest to seek out the source of the precious life-giving earth.

Kenyan post-apocalyptic dystopian sci fi indie film PUMZI / Recursor.TVPUMZI, which is the Swahili word for “breath,” is a shining example of the genre known as Afrofuturism — speculative fiction told through the culture, experiences, art, mythology, and traditions of Africa, as well as the African diaspora.

The result of Kahiu’s vision is a compelling film that breathes fresh air into the well-trod genre trope of a dystopian society by reflecting it through a different cultural lens.

Watch PUMZI now on Recursor.TV and share your thoughts in the comments.

rodfaulknerGuest reviewer Rod T. Faulkner is the founder of, a website dedicated to promoting the best genre web series and short films. He also is the author of 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films, a compilation of exceptional SF&F short films.