Shaina brings gender-based violence to the fore

BY SHARON SIBINDI

A new movie — Shaina — has hit the screens and it reverberates with millions of adolescents around the world, Zimbabweans in particular, in dealing with public health issues and gender- based violence (GBV).

So effective it has been through the visuals and unapologetic message against GBV, the major funders USAid have been inspired to seek more resources to fund similar projects.

Finally, a movie by women, for women that sees issues through the eyes of women.

Intimate issues are discussed with no exaggeration. One cannot help, but empathise with the beautiful soul-stirring depiction of Beautie Masvaure Alt’s “accurate” of the untold story that young women go through.

Set in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Shaina delivers powerful health messages through a compelling story about young Zimbabweans. It tells an evocative story of a group of friends who encounter life-changing obstacles that mirror the day-to-day challenges faced by many adolescent girls and young women in Zimbabwe.

The realistic storyline is making waves on social media where it has resonated with viewers and may be a vehicle for positive change in society. Netizens took to Twitter to express the profound impact of the movie with some saying it deserves an award.

@Yng_Khalifaa posted: “Beautiful movie, great storyline, awesome soundtrack, Netflix soon, right? I loved it.”

@rumbie_s1 chipped in: “Such a beautiful story, beautifully brought to life!”

Although the film director Masvaure Alt said she struggled to make scenes to appear authentic, it would appear she succeeded more than she thought through the amateur acting and enthusiasm of the cast. The movie has put the message across in a way which has made the audience empathise it.

Speaking at the virtual event recently, USaid’s mission director Art Brown said they will seek more resources to fund similar projects like Shaina.

“We don’t know if Shaina is a once-off event, but I think anyone who has seen the movie has seen all the deliberate public health messaging and GBV messaging, how young girls and adolescent women deal with the sort of the conflict of today simple trying to be empowered and progressive,” Brown said.

“We want to do more. We want to try and find additional resources and do more Shaina-like projects because we want to try and advance and reach at least millions of Zimbabweans.

“That movie is fantastic and there is no doubt about it. I think it rides on the backbone of so much that the US government has done so much to contribute to this 80% declining of HIV rates since 2006.”

Brown said they were trying to decrease HIV infections among young girls and adolescent women through the effort and can document that over 420 000 young women have been positively affected and are on the right path.

“Some of you might know about DREAMS which we initiated in 2016 and the project is still running,” he said.

“Ultimately, we have these young folks leading determined, resilient, empowered, mentored, Aids-free safe lives. That’s what the acronym DREAMS stands for.
“The fact that we are already touching almost 420 000 youths, that’s a powerful statement and testimony.”

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