A talented group of orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland confront past trauma through the creation of a fictional character, a young girl named Liyana. The world that they imagine for her is brought to life in a unique style of animated artwork. Drawing from painful memories, the children describe a violent attack at Liyana's home. In the aftermath of this terrible night, Liyana must embark on a dangerous quest into the wilderness. Profound insight is revealed as the children shape their heroine's mythic journey, and parallels are drawn between Liyana’s fate, and that of the young storytellers.



We have collaborated with our characters to make the film that we most want to see. “Liyana” is a lyrical film that gives our young storytellers the stage. We believe that well crafted stories of hope and triumph spoken from within are potent tools in enacting social change. We hope this film will play a crucial role in breaking stereotypes and challenging the prevalent, simplistic singular narrative of orphans, and of Africans in general. A brave female lead gives both the children in the film, and the audience a positive role model that will help empower women and young people in the region and beyond. Ultimately, the film is a meditation on storytelling, an ode to the creative spirit.


*LIYANA is currently in postproduction.


      ©AJK Film LLC