The Sunday News
THE short film Amacala, an Amplifying Girls Voices through Digital Arts project, was well received by viewers. The reception is proof enough that art, in this instance film, can effectively mirror our society and have people from different parts of the world engaging on the issues raised.
The local short film filmed entirely in the peri-urban area of St Peter’s in Bulawayo looks at two days in the life of a young school girl, Luba, whose life changes quickly from dreams to nightmares. One minute she is at school and dreaming of becoming a nurse and even leaving the country in search of greener pastures to being forced to marry and becoming a young and confused housewife.
The painful part of the film is that both Luba and the boyfriend, Thabo, clearly claim that they are not ready to be married as they are still young but their pleas fall on their parents’ deaf ears. The parents are either too angry or blinded by greed to hear or see anything.
The two young lovers’ fate is quickly sealed just like the fate of many young people who found themselves walking the same journey. Forced marriages, early child marriages . . . and the complications that come with these arrangements. This is the path that has ruined a lot of young people’s future.
The short film came at the right time. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it was well received. It was premièred right in the middle of a national outrage against the death of a 14-year-old girl Anna Machaya. Anna, first believed to be Memory Machaya, died while giving birth and was secretly buried at some shrine in Marange.
When she dies, Anna had been married to a 26-year-old man from the Johane Marange Apostolic Faith sect. So, when the film came out it hit right on the nerve and had many people responding to it. Many viewers commended the quality of the film. But I think what made it a winner is the simplicity in which the story was told. Amacala is not a new story.
The issue of child marriages in Zimbabwe is not new either. However, it is the simplicity of the storyline and the cinematography that carries the project and makes everyone love it. Another positive for the film is that it does not preach about issues. It does not take sides. And it does not offer solutions.
The writers of the film do not, at any point, try to preach or pretend they know better than the viewers. They concentrated on mirroring what is happening in the society and let people judge or offer solutions themselves.
“This is a great piece of work. The plight of the girl child as we see it every day. We need more,” said Khuphukile Mavundla after watching the film on Youtube. “Beautiful storytelling, sad it’s still a reality in our country,” another viewer quipped in. “This is great work, we need such stories for social change.
In Africa we need to protect the rights of the girl child,” said another reacting to the film. From the onset the objective was to use the film to create debate or conversations about child marriages on digital platforms and the film did exactly that.
Amacala is part of a series of short films dealing with different issues affecting the girl child. The films are part of the Amplifying Girls Voices through Digital Arts project. The project is an Intwasa Arts Festival initiative supported by Plan International and Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ humanitarian budget. For those that enjoyed Amacala watch out for more short films under the project.