Ngumu - An Exodus Film Premiere

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 10:45 to 11:30
Destinations London 2020 Schedule - Meet the Experts London - Meet the Experts - Theatre 1


'Ngumu', shines a spotlight on the incredible female porters of Mt Kilimanjaro. Being a porter on the world's highest free standing mountain is tough enough. Being a female porter in a heavily male dominated role brings a whole extra set of challenges.
Today only 18% of the workforce on Kilimanjaro are women. 10 years ago there were none. This powerful new film follows Olympic Gold Medallist Crista Cullen as she embarks on an journey with the pioneering female porters of Mt Kilimanjaro. Kenyan raised and a Swahili speaker, she was able to delve into their world and hear their as-yet-untold story.  To understand what it takes to be a porter on Kilimanjaro - she became one. And to experience it as authentically as possible this meant carrying the 20kg load, as the women do... on her head!  The documentary 'Ngumu' raises awareness of the challenges and advancements of women on the mountain and promotes the growth of the female workforce.


Related Information


Crista Cullen
Great Britain Olympic Gold Medallist
Olly Pemberton
Director, Cameraman and Editor
Related companies Exodus


Director Statement about Ngumu
Porters are the literal backbone of any big commercial trek, allowing clients to explore the higher regions of our planet in comfort. They therefore rightly deserve as big a spotlight as they can get. In creating this film it was very important for me to highlight the journey that women have gone through with this role. Also to give them a platform for a story that is not usually heard.Luckily for me I had a trump card in the form of a Swahili speaking Olympic Gold medallist Crista Cullen to help tell their story... 
Some background / context – why is this such a big deal culturally? 

Culturally the women who live in the surroundings of Mt Kilimanjaro live in a heavily patriarchal society. From speaking to the women themselves there is still very much a perception culturally of what jobs should be with regards to gender. Women traditionally are expected to work on the land and raise children. So to have a few pioneering women who placed themselves in an incredibly male dominated profession was culturally huge as it broke the mould from an outdated way of thinking. A shift in the perception on the mountain has begun when it comes to gender roles but it has not been an easy road for these woman and there is still a long way to go.

What does Kili mean to the local communities in terms of economy and spiritually? 

Spiritually there is not as much a connection with the mountain now as there once was many years ago, but perhaps economically it is more significant than ever. As more and more tourists come to the mountain more opportunity for work arises. And this opportunity should be available to all, both male and female. It is also a vital life source to the town of Moshi as the glacial water feeds the steams that becomes the water source of the town. As the glaciers retreat due to global warming there will be eventually come a day, not too long from now, where the water will altogether run out.
< Back