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A button for every sex encounter

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Button Box, a play about sexual abuse, premiered at Amakhosi Arts Centre on Thursday evening.

The play focuses on the sexual harassment women sometimes have to endure in life.

“I wrote the play after I overheard one woman in town talking about her experiences at the New Start Centre. She was telling a friend that she had gone for an HIV test,” play writer and director Mgcini Nyoni told NewsDay on Friday.

“Button Box highlights the plight of some women who turn to prostitution as a last resort.”

In the play, starring by Brenda Jerange, a lady (she has no name in the play) collects a button from every man she sleeps with.

“The buttons have come to represent the cumulative pain, despair and confusion she faces,” said Nyoni.
She collects trousers, shirts and overall buttons. She has buttons from soldiers, commuter omnibus touts as well as a ministerial button or two.

The plot turns political when the protagonist has to leave town for her rural home.

“When she arrives at the village, she discovers that youth service brigade members have camped there and she is force-marched to go and attend a pungwe (all night political gathering) where she would be re-oriented,” he said.

“Since the youth service members know that she is from town, they feel she is a supporter of an opposition party and needs ‘re-education’. She is gang-raped in the process”.

Nyoni said he only sought to highlight the fact that some women “often got a raw deal from a patriarchal society and had their sexual rights violated”.

He said he had plans to look for a more central venue in the city where the play would be showcased before a larger audience next month.

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