Shouting Silent

A film by Renee Rosen and Xoliswa Sithole

2002 | 50 minutes | Color | DVD | Subtitled | Order No. 03810


SHOUTING SILENT explores the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic through the eyes of Xoliswa Sithole, an adult orphan who lost her mother to HIV/AIDS in 1996. Xoliswa journeys back home in search of other young women who have also lost their mothers to HIV/AIDS and are now struggling to raise themselves (and, in many cases, their siblings) on their own.

Sithole lyrically interweaves their unsettling stories with highly stylized imagery to help convey her own painful memories and document the grim statistics of HIV infection in Africa. These testimonials powerfully demonstrate how entire generations of young people are growing up without their parents and chronicles the devastating impact the AIDS pandemic is having on orphaned children in South Africa. An arresting and timely piece, SHOUTING SILENT is also a cinematographic gem that artistically and meditatively captures how these young women are quickly slipping through the cracks of society.


“Cuts through the WHO reports and New York Times news stories about the AIDS epidemic in Africa…absolutely refutes the idea that AIDS is just an illness confined to the body. It shows, with heart and compassion, that AIDS is about families, their everyday lives, and the bodies left behind after death.”

Patricia R. Zimmerman, Professor Cinema Studies, Ithaca College

“…a moving, disconcerting, yet very truthful and personal portrayal of the devastating effect of AIDS on women in South Africa. A must see for everyone advocating for AIDS activism on an international level.”

Michelle Materre, Media Consultant Prof, Communications Dept, New School University

''…poignant, sensitive and candid…It deals with an often-told story in an innovative and intimate way.”

Steven Markovitz Encounters South African Documentary Film Festival


  • Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO)
  • South Africa Documentary Film Festival
  • Sithengi Film Festival, Cape Town, South Africa
  • New York African Film Festival
  • Washington DC Independent Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize
  • San Francisco Black Film Festival, 2nd Prize


Renee Rosen

Renee Rosen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who received critical acclaim for her directorial debut "Shouting Silent." A freelance writer and producer for the BBC, The Mail and the Guardian, she has been working as a communications consultant in Johannesburg, South Africa. Renee holds dual master's degrees in journalism and international relations earned from Columbia University and New York University respectively. (8/14)

Xoliswa Sithole

Producer and filmmaker Xoliswa Sithole is the first South African to be awarded a British Academy Television Award. She was awarded for her involvement as associate producer on the documentary ORPHANS OF NKANDLA, which chronicles the effects of the AIDS pandemic on African children. Sithole made her mark with SHOUTING SILENT, a personal story of how AIDS has affected her family. Her next project is another personal documentary in which she will travel back to Zimbabwe to rediscover the land where she was raised at the height of Apartheid. (10/09)


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