LOCAL actors who featured in the recently premiered film titled Depth of Emotions say they have stepped up campaigns to call for unity in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
Depth of Emotions was shot in Mutare, written and produced by celebrated filmmaker Amanda Ranganawa’s Mclara Multimedia Productions in association with Tatenda Studios and Pikicha Afrika (Harare and Mutare film companies).
The cast includes Ranganawa as Grace, Everjoyce Bvumbura Mahachi who plays the character Tete Mai Farai, Yeukai Soliath as Chipo and Precious Mzulu as the gossipy neighbour Mai Tapiwa.
Chitungwiza-based beautician and actress Soliath lamented the rise in GBV cases in and around Chitungwiza.
“The cases of GBV are increasing in Chitungwiza and I think this is because of early marriages, the issue of drug abuse and disputes,” she said.
“We can stop GBV by educating people in relationships and marriages about their rights and responsibilities through campaigns — dangers of breaking GBV laws which results in one being arrested and facing severe punishment.”
Soliath said marriage officers, church leaders, aunties and uncles were important in solving disputes.
“We have to teach the next generation the examples we set for the younger generation, shape the way they think about gender, respect and human rights. Start conversations about gender roles early and challenge the traditional features and characteristics assigned to men and women,” she said.
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“There is a need to point out the stereotypes that children constantly encounter, whether in the media, on the streets or at school and let them know that it is okay to be different. Encourage a culture of acceptance.”
In Depth of Emotions, Soliath is a surrogate mother (a woman sent by a family to bear children on behalf or as compensation to an aunt or relative) typical rural girl taken to a rich urban family to bear a child for a barren woman and get paid for that.
She added: “There should be plenty of democratic conversations which talk about consent, bodily autonomy and accountability with boys and girls while listening to what they have to say about their experiences of the world.”
“By empowering young advocates with information and educating them about women rights we can build a better future for all.”
Mahachi said an inclusive approach in building effective communication was a philosophy that every film or drama should embrace.
She believes age-specific representation helps in making messages accessible while creating models or mouthpieces for each generation.
“When you see a woman in her late 50s queuing to be auditioned then you will naturally be in many worlds and you may wonder about the passion of others in bringing out to the fullest the world of talent in them. You understand that age, and diversity exist in the arts industry,” she said.
“When I am on set, I get into the character and the uniqueness in it is I try by all means to be real and not showing that it's acting. I believe it’s an in-born thing and my duty is just polishing it so as to bring out the thesis of the story.”
Mahachi continued: “In Depth of Emotions I am an aunt who believes that when people get married, they should have children and when this fails there should be an option and, in this case, it was well-known that Grace could not have children so to keep my brother’s name alive I suggested Ryan should marry another woman and have children.”
Mzulu, whose career started with the movie Hazvinei which is popular in Mutare, is the gossiping neighbour, church personality and close friend to Grace’s mother. Mzulu believes that confidentiality and respect for persons should be taught to children from childhood as a way of limiting incidences of violences.
“In the film (Depth of Emotions) I am a next-door woman or can I say a neighbour and a church mate of Grace’s mother. I am a traitor and a gossiper who befriends Grace’s mother so as to collect more information to spread in the neighbourhood. Mai Brian and l were friends and we were of the same character,” she said.
Ranganawa said: “Playing Grace for me was very emotional because she went through a lot of pain, hopelessness, judgement, ill-treatment and also love. Losing her womb was very painful, but the judgement she got from her in-laws was even harsher.”
“I feel that as a society we should be more understanding of situations where a couple cannot give birth. Let’s be more compassionate and helpful instead of being destructive.
“No one wishes barrenness or infertility upon themselves, but when it does happen society should not make it seem as if it’s the end of the world.”
She continued: “Let people love who they want to love. Let people choose to have or not to have kids. If a woman or man is barren, give them love and support not hate and judgement. That is emotional and mental abuse and they don’t need that.”
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