Germany / Zimbabwe 2000, 30min

short description

FORBIDDEN FRUIT tells the story of the love of two women, Nongoma and Tsitsi, who live in the rural area in Zimbabwe. Because a lesbian relationship is a big taboo and her secret affair is exposed, Nongoma is forced to flee the village to the city. Tsitsi’s family is convinced that she is possessed by a bad spirit.
After two years, the two women meet by chance in Mutare again…


2001 TEDDY-Jury Award für FORBIDDEN FRUIT – 51. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin // Germany
2001 Besondere Jury-Erwähnung für FORBIDDEN FRUIT 15. International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Milano / Bologna // Italy
2001 Femmedia Award – bester Kurzfilm für FORBIDDEN FRUIT identities – Queer Filmfestival Wien // Austria


„…graceful… the most gutsy film to be shown at the Berlinale.“ (

„Zimbabwean filmmaker, Sue Maluwa Bruce, breaks long held taboos about sexual identity and lesbian love in African society in her groundbreaking video, FORBIDDEN FRUIT.“ 
(Woman Make Movies New York)

„What is most remarkable about FORBIDDEN FRUIT is its range of appeal. 
It opens rural life and village politics in Zimbabwe to a new understanding, which is reconfigured by the love shared by the two women protagonists. To a society hostile to that love, the film responds neither with pleas for tolerance nor condemnation; instead, FORBIDDEN FRUIT exploits passion in the service of transformation. The inventive reconstruction of that love story breaks the barriers of genre, too: this is a docu/dramatic and moving call to queer, global solidarity.“ 
(Amy Villarejo, Cornell University USA)

„When one considers how few stories by and about lesbians come out of the African continent, it is very fascinating that this film ever got made and was even partially shot in Zimbabwe. 
If you get a chance, do yourself a favor and check this film out.“ 
(Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival 2001)

„We are told in the brochure that the entire cast resigned for fear of homophobic repercussions, leaving Maluwa Bruce to call on her family and friends to act some of the roles while she narrates the tale and partially acts the roles of both women. The result is a film, which feels underground and fearful – one is really left with the sensation of the work being carried out under enormously adverse conditions. Using a narrator also gives it the very African feel of the oral tradition – a little piece of history, it may not 
be the best film ever made but it certainly breaks ground in a Zimbabwean 
context.“ (Daniel Somerville at the 2002 Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival / Johannesburg)


screenplay, director Sue Maluwa Bruce
co-author, co-director, camera, editing Beate Kunath
co-author, co-director, sound, set photos Yvonne Zückmantel


story teller Sue Maluwa Bruce
Mai Gondai Mai Dope
Gondayi Mary
Tete Mai Mary
Takunda Mai Mutswa
Mbuya Mukaka Muroora
Manu Mafunga
Tsitsi’s mother Mbuya Rukudzo
healer Mbuya Muchangana
healer helper Sekuru Muchangana
Great Zimbabwe dance group Traditionelle Tänzer
dog Cindy


Great Zimbabwe Tanzgruppe live-recording May 2000

afri vocals Martine Felton
performed by Martine Felton and Melanie Schely
© 2000 Martine Felton

african smile
Frank Herrlinger
Proud Music

special thanks

Ralf, Lutz, Mario, Ines – Chemnitzer Filmwerkstatt
difranco cafe/kneipe, Muzvare Nedope, Ceals, Craig, Fraser, Sophie, Gerdie, Manu
shot in Mutare / Zimbabwe


Chemnitzer Filmwerkstatt |
[bi:kei] productions / Beate Kunath | Sue Maluwa Bruce
© 2000


2018 FORBIDDEN FRUIT appears on the Jubiläums-Box by the Chemnitzer Filmwerkstatt “Edition 25” – which shows 27 short films from the traditional ‘Chemnitzer Filmschmiede’.
2012 Dyke TV – broadcasting / New 
 York // USA
2001 untill 2008 distribution by WOMEN MAKE MOVIES / New York // USA

(german version only)
DVD-version: 10,- Euro
BluRay-version: 12,- Euro
shipping 3,- Euro


2016 Lila Villa / Frauenzentrum / Chemnitz // Germany
2016 Africa in Motion Film Festival / Schottland // Great Britain
2014 Massimadi FilmFestival + Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung / Brüssel // Belgium
2014 Queer Lisboa – International Queer Film Festival // Portugal
2013 Massimadi FilmFestival – GLBT Film Festival / Brüssel // Belgium
2013 frauenlesbentrans* und ENTZAUBERT Filmfestival, Olauer Strasse / Berlin // Germany
2011 Spielräume – Kurzfilme von Beate Kunath, Moviemento Kino / Berlin // Germany
2010 ENTZAUBERT – radical queer d.i.y. Filmfestival / Berlin // Germany
2010 Wagenburg – Schwarzer Kanal / Berlin // Germany
2009 OutView Film Festival – Athens International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival // Greece
2007 Kuze / Potsdam // Germany
2007 identities – lesbisch / schwules Filmfestival / Wien // Austria
2005 femmes en résistance / Paris // France
2003 nowpink Galerie / Berlin // Germany
2003 Mpenzi – Black Women’s Film Festival / Toronto // Canada
2003 Kulturfestival Begehungen auf dem Sonnenberg / Chemnitz // Germany
2003 München // Germany
2003 7th Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival // Portugal
2003 25. Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoaméricano Havana // Cuba
2002 Brussels Gay & Lesbian Film Festival // Belgium
2002 Mardi Gras Film Festival Sydney / Australia
2002 Out- In- Africa Film Festival // South Afrika
2002 24th Festival de Femmes / Crétel // France
2002 Lesbenfilmtage Hannover // Germany
2002 Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival // USA
2002 Filmtage Afrika in Chemnitz – Frauen in Afrika // Germany
2002 Frauenkultur Leipzig // Germany
2002 Goethe – Institut // Colombia
2002 Feminale / Köln // Germany
2002 Münster // Germany
2002 Düsseldorf // Germany
2001 Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Paris // France
2001 21th Amiens International Film Festival // France
2001 rencontres – internationals de cinéma à Paris // France
2001 Queersicht lesbisch – schwules Festival Bern // Switzerland
2001 schwul / lesbisches Filmfestival Sachsen / Sachsen- Anhalt // Germany

2001 13th Paris Lesbian Film Festival / France
2001 Schwul- Lesbische Filmtage Bremen // Germany
2001 Barcelona 7th International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival // Spain
2001 Milwaukee Lesbian and Gay Film / Video Festival 2001 // USA
2001 12. Lesbisch / Schwule Filmtage Hamburg // Germany
2001 Berlin Lesben Film Festival // Germany
2001 5th Festival de Cinema Gay & Lesbico de Lisboa // Portugal
2001 Africa in the Pictures / Amsterdam // The Netherlands
2001 14th Annual International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Austin / Texas // USA
2001 schwul-lesbische Filmtage Köln // Germany
2001 Outfest 2001 19th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival // USA
2001 11. Freiburger Lesbenfilmtage // Germany
2001 Lesbenfilmnächte / Halle // Germany
2001 Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival // USA
2001 25th San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival // USA
2001 Oslo Gay and Lesbian Film Festival // Norway
2001 13th New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival // USA
2001 identities – 2001 Wien Queer Film Festival // Austria
2001 15th Milano Bologna Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival // Italy
2001 4. Schwul – Lesbisches Film Festival / Münster // Germany
2001 11th Inside Out Lesbian & Gay Film / Video Festival / Toronto // Canada
2001 Frauenkino Xenia / Zürich // Switzerland
2001 16th Turin International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival / Italy
2001 9. International Lesbian Film Festival / Bologna // Italy
2001 PREMIERE 51. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin // Germany

the TEDDY-Jury Award Winners
© photo: Lazlo Farkas (2001)