Once a week, a group of migrant women in Amsterdam learn how to ride a bicycle. Inspiring them to let go of the fear and get behind the wheels is a Ghanaian community mother named Mama Agatha.
«Mama Agatha» is a heart-warming documentary about letting go of the past and the freedom of riding a bicycle.
“Beautifully shot and full to the brim with life… one of the best short films I saw this year!”
—Louise Bawtree, Quandary Productions
“The film makes a powerful argument for the bicycle’s potential as an empowering machine, giving these women who are marginalised by age, gender and ethnicity, a greater agency and independence.”
—Bruce Bennett, Lancaster University
“We played «Mama Agatha» at our Bike Shorts Film Festival last year. We received incredible feedback. Mama Agatha was the one movie that people still bring up to me and tell me how inspiring it was.”
—Tracy Wilkins, HUB Cycling Canada
Agartha Frimpong, nicknamed Mama Agatha, is a 59-year-old Ghanaian woman who runs a bicycle training program for migrant and refugee women in the south of Amsterdam. A ‘community mother’ with a larger-than-life personality, she teaches a group of women from Pakistan, Morocco, Somalia, China and elsewhere the most basic Dutch skill: cycling. Mama Agatha’s summer course ends in a colorful graduation ceremony where the migrant ladies receive their diplomas and take to the streets of Amsterdam on their brand new bicycles.
Over a course of 12 weeks, this short documentary follows Mama Agatha and her students on their journey from the baby steps with the bicycle until their graduation.
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, the full documentary is now freely available online. Watch it on YouTube and if you like it, leave a comment and share the film with your friends!
As of 2019, more than 1500 women have learned how to cycle in Mama Agatha’s still on-going cycling course in Amsterdam Southeast. But even though the responses to the documentary we made about her were overwhelmingly positive, her cycling initiative continues to face challenges. It is run by volunteers, the bicycles are donated and funding depends on the political climate. When conditions become unfavorable and social programs get cut, keeping the course running is a struggle. If you are interested in supporting Agartha Frimpong’s non-profit foundation Women Motivation & Integration, do not hesitate to contact us and we will put you in touch.
Dear friends, partners and supporters,
Four years ago, on International Women’s Day 2015, still as a not quite finished film, «Mama Agatha» was shown for the first time to an audience during a pre-premiere event at Paradiso cultural center in Amsterdam. Since then, it has been screened hundreds of times all around the world and continues to inspire people to take up cycling. Today, commemorating International Women’s Day, we are very excited to announce that the full documentary «Mama Agatha» is now freely available for everyone to watch online.
Hearing the positive responses the film has received is a fantastic feeling and we’d like to express our gratitude to all those who have made this incredible journey possible: Agartha Frimpong, her team and all of the women who participated in the documentary, our awesome film crew, our advisors Carmen Hogenelst, Angela van der Kloof and Marjolein Lange, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and the Netherlands Film Fund, the many film festivals who have selected our documentary for their programs, all the Netherlands Embassies that we had the pleasure to work with, the cycling organizations that tirelessly work towards a world with sustainable and equitable mobility, the scholars and universities who found academic value in the film, and all of the many other people who have supported it in various ways over the years. Thank you!
Please help us spread the word and make sure as many people see the benefits and positive effects cycling can have. Share the documentary with your family, friends and colleagues. Know someone who likes cycling? Or documentaries? Send them the link! Post it on your social media, tweet it, forward it to your WhatsApp groups! And ask people to share it with their own contacts, too. Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/SzdyTnO39fw