Kenyan writer selected for 2nd edition of AuthenticA Series Lab

Saturday September 23 2023

A group photo of the 2023 AuthenticA Series Lab participants. Top L-R: Tiah Beye and Moreetsi Gabang. Bottom L-R: Wanjiru Kairu and Kelly-Eve Koopman. PHOTO | COURTESY


Kenyan screenwriter Wanjiru Kairu is among four African episodic screenwriters who have been selected for the second edition of AuthenticA Series Lab.

She is joined by Tiah Beye (Senegal/Côte d’Ivoire), Kelly-Eve Koopman (South Africa) and Moreetsi Gabang (Botswana).

The four started their six-month mentorship on September 19 in the AuthenticA Series Lab – one of six film industry development programmes managed by the Cape Town-based Realness Institute.

Read: Kenyan, Ugandan writers shortlisted for Sahel project

Kairu has written over 10 films for DSTV, and her short films have garnered international recognition and nominations.

While studying in France, Beye produced a documentary “Haïroines,” exploring the relationship between Black women and afro-hair, during the Covid-19 lock down.


Koopman describes herself as a writer, change-maker and “artivist.” Her debut memoir “Because I Couldn’t Kill You” was longlisted for the Sunday Times National Book Award in 2019. She is also the co-curator of the celebrated LGBTQI anthology “They Called Me Queer”.

Gabang’s short film “Motswakwa” was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2019 African Movie Academy Awards. His short film “Zombie Date Night” in Tlokweng won the 2023 NEFTI Competition Award.

The four will be mentored by Selina Ukwuoma and Mehret Mandefro, and participate in online sessions over six months as well as attend in-person residencies in South Africa at the Coot Club, and in Switzerland at the StoryBoard House, culminating with a pitching session on stage at the Series Mania Forum 2024 in Lille, France.