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African women have COVID-19 stories to tell: let’s watch them

GABORONE, Botswana, July 2020/ — The impact of Covid-19 across the globe, and especially in Africa, is felt more by the vulnerable in society. In many African countries women’s opportunities and access to opportunities are limited, and the economic and social impact of Covid-19 is, in many cases, impacting women harder and in different ways than their male counterparts.

The Ladima Foundation, in partnership with DW Akademie invited African women to share their stories about the personal, economic, and social impact of Covid-19 in Africa. The brave and powerful films that were submitted sadly have reflected the extremely difficult circumstances that many African women are facing.  The stories have shown how in too many cases that the pandemic has indeed impacted women harder and in different ways than on their male counterparts.

An overwhelming response saw just under 200 women from 18 African countries sharing their moving and honest stories on a diversity of topics with dominant themes of domestic violence, altered access to opportunities, increased burden of care, although also of resilience and hope.

The ten films will be premiered on the Ladima Foundation Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LadimaFoundation/ at 15:00 CAT on FRIDAY JULY 10th 2020.

Being Malak El Araby  (Egypt)
Malak is a 21 year old film major graduating senior at The American University in Cairo. Malak is passionate about filmmaking and photography, winning third place UIFF in South Korea and working on multiple movies in Egyptian cinema. Malak’s short films are always inspired by women empowerment, portraying their struggles and stories.

Synopsis: The film is about how everyone took everything for granted before the pandemic. How the little things in life is what matters most. How we never realize what we have until it is lost. What we miss and what we should appreciate in life after all of this is over.

Blunder  Fezeka Tholakele  (South Africa)
Fezeka Shandu is a 26 year old  aspiring filmmaker who grew up in the dusty streets of Umlazi, KZN South Africa. Growing up she always had a love for films and theatre. She has  always wanted  to tell stories in a simple way, but meaningfully and realistically.

Synopsis: Blunder is about a couple who planned to get married before lockdown was introduced, with all the rules and regulations everything has paused, however the girlfriend’s (Naledi) uncles decided to show up for lobola negotiations because they believe that culturally such things can’t be postponed as it will upset the ancestors.

Moyo Hellen Samina  Ochieng  (Kenya)
Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22 year old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at the Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first -hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls. 

Synopsis: Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother, and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.

My Sunshine Chioma Divine Favour Mathias  (Nigeria)
Chioma Divine Favour Mathias is a writer, cinematographer/filmmaker, and actor. She is  graduate of statistics and the last of four kids.

Synopsis: This short story is about the struggle of a single mother with a disabled child, trying to fend for herself and her baby at the same time surviving the effect of the pandemic. She did all she can to stay strong and sharp even in the face of tribulations. This story depict the true strength of an African woman. 

I’ll Call You Later  Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)
Aurelie Stratton is an actress, writer, director and producer who graduated from WITS Drama School and moved to the United Kingdom shortly after graduation to further her study, career and experiences.  After her return, she then co-founded production company, You Kicked My Dog Productions with Emmanuel Castis and they produced the acclaimed Short Film ‘Sides of a Horn’ which qualified for the 2020 Oscars.

Synopsis:  Jo and Bec are sisters and can only communicate through video calls during lockdown. Jo has not been taking Bec’s calls because she is hiding something. Lockdown has been more dangerous for Jo than Bec realises

Love, Zawadi   Wambui Gathee  (Kenya)
Wambui Gathee is an emerging Director/ Producer rising steadily in the African film scene. She is a firm believer of artistic visual storytelling and her work voices and represents the true African narrator.

Synopsis: With the lockdown measures being enforced, vulnerable women and young girls are put in a position where the life-threatening outside is safer than their own homes and at times forced to make difficult choices.

Worlds Apart  Yehoda Hammond   (Ghana)
Yehoda Adukwei Hammond is a 19 years and third year film directing student at the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. She is currently interning as a Second Assistant director with Esse Productions. Growing up in Ghana and Accra, she gained a keen interest in social issues occurring in her country, with a soft spot for girl child  education.  

Synopsis: Rhema and Erica are Junior high school students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The differences in their economic situations have directly altered the course of their education and how they cope with the current times.

The Tempest  Skinnor Davillah Agello  (Kenya)
Davillah is a professional dancer and choreographer and a film maker based in Nairobi Kenya. Born in K’ogello Siaya country an area rich in culture and dance which played a major part in her love for dance and storytelling. She has taken part in numerous dance performances i.e. One Africa Music Fest in Dubai, Dance for Sale in Germany, “I Can Dance” finalist aired on KTN. She was nominated at the Sondeka Awards 2018 in story through dance category. Safaricom Twaweza, Chapa Dimba.

Synopsis: The Tempest is a short film about a dancer Davillah_S expressing how Covid -19 has changed her family and personal life, as well as millions of other lives across the globe. The dance performance is devised to reflect Davillah’s own personal challenges and solutions for coping with the pandemic, while encouraging those who view the piece to stay positive and safe.

Face Mask for Sale  Neha Manoj Shah   (Kenya)
Neha is from Nairobi and has worked in film and advertising since 2006. She is a skilled communicator who specializes in production design and has written and directed 7 short  films. Neha’s stories revolve around challenging social constructs and bringing awareness to the audience through film. Neha has won two awards in media (Kalasha International Film & TV and Oshwal Award) and three of her short films have been showcased in film festivals in Kenya and the UK.

Synopsis: They say this is the new norm, that things will be okay. At first, it’s all fun and games, but time has a way of draining you. This is the story of a single mother in the time of Corona, stuck, with no choice but to survive.

Loop: Every End Has a Beginning  Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)
Faith is a visual artist, using film as her medium of expression, and is passionate about creating films for social justice, especially telling stories of social issues affecting women globally. She wants to use film to start a narrative that will bring about change and conversations surrounding those issues. Born in and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Faith’s first degree is in a medical related field, but her passion for storytelling couldn’t be held back: she graduated top in her class in Digital Film Production SAE Institute, Cape Town and currently works in Lagos, Nigeria, as a video journalist with the BBC.

Synopsis: Loop is a short film highlighting the negative effect of domestic violence on children exposed to such violence during the lock down.

For more information on the films, filmmakers and viewing opportunities visit www.ladima.africa. From July 11th films will then also be available to watch and stream on The Ladima Foundation website, www.ladima.africa, MyMoviesAfrica™️, a proudly Kenyan, mobile-first digital cinema platform, offering movies on smart devices, including phones, tablets, laptops and televisions, via the internet.

MyMoviesAfrica™️ can be accessed via https://mymovies.africa/ on the web, and the Android App can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/yy78zadc.

The films will also be broadcast on the True African channel on Premium.Free. True African is a TV channel that embodies being “the contemporary African”. The channel delivers the best series and movies from across the continent. True African introduces rising talent and presents established stars as the channel captures the spirit of Africa today – the prefect channel for these 10 short films, showcasing developing new talent across the continent. Premium.Free is a free bouquet of channels available across Sub Saharan Africa via satellite in West Africa, East and Southern Africa as well as Francophone Africa. Broadcast schedule and details can be found on http://premiumfree.tv/

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BOTSWANAUNPLUGGED is an exclusive online news and lifestyle magazine created for upwardly mobile citizens with distinguished tastes. Based in Gaborone, Botswana; UNPLUGGED is a quintessential online news and lifestyle medium (platform) which strives to speak to the soul of the country’s upscale lifestyle by setting its sights on the passion that permeates our region.

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