Children that had to grow up to early
Adding to Namibia’s list of impactful produced movies, Kukuri an all Namibian star production is one of the latest DVD’s created to highlight the issue that surrounds the topic of child marriages in Namibia.
Produced and edited by Philippe Talavera, Director and founder of Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) Trust, Kukuri also showcases stories based on testimonies from children who were forced to become adults at an early stage in their lives.
The motive behind the movie stems from the concerns that have surfaced over the years as to how Namibian children have their childhoods robbed from them due to circumstances such as family members forcing them into marriage.
In a report published by UNICEF, it has been revealed that there are over 5400 child marriages in Namibia with a shocking number of 1669 boys and 3828 girls who are married of and have become victims of child marriages.
Former UNICEF Namibia Representative, Micaela de Sousa noted that about 26 percent of Namibian girls give birth to their first child before their 18th birthday. In most cases this results in children who come from rural areas and those from the poorest families being the ones who are more at risk of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Talavera who expressed deep concern noted that after coming across these statistics, he sent out a few staff members from the OYO team to the Kavango and Zambezi regions where it is said that child marriages are said to commonly happen.
“We went to look for those children to hear their stories and to our surprise we found them fairly easily. Some of them accepted to be interviewed and to share their stories with us”.
Talavera explained that the team sat down with a group of writers, including a girl who had almost been forced to marry before her eighteenth birthday.
“From there on we all started to work on the script. We listened to stories from the Omusati, Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi regions. However, the movie could not address all the issues so we focused on the Kavango region.
One of the participants, David Mushavanga, from the community was very motivated in having the project in his area. His commitment and perseverance towards the movie was of great help as it made it easier for us to work”.
In order to keep the story authentic, OYO is said to have started to work with community members in the Omega and Chetto villages. With the community being very mixed there, this made it possible to tell the story from different points of cultural individual views.
All the actors are said to have worked tirelessly towards this production with Nyandee Mbarandongo, OYO’s youth development coordinator spending weeks in the Omega village working with the community.
There he came across more cases, including a girl who was married and pregnant at 14 years. This was an eye opener for him because most times in Windhoek ones does not see what really happens in our country.
Through an excerpt of the movie, it’s clear to note that different individual cultures were used to show case that child marriages tend to exist all across Namibia from all traditional group types. In a short scene from the movie, a mother is shown, telling her grown son that she has found a wife for him.
In the movie, a family member of the girl who is to be married off is seen telling her that she seems grown enough and ready for marriage. The young girl’s mother does not agree with it, as she remembers that she too was married off at a young age and came to the realisation that she was not happy at all in her marriage.
The family member who looks very upset decides to highlight the fact that the young girl’s mother was going against their traditional culture and that this would bring shame to the family.
Various scenes are shown of the aftermath and how the girl’s life changes, as she cries herself to sleep after having been forced by her husband who is way older than her to sleep with her.
The movie which has people speaking Khoe, Mbukushu, Oshiwambo and Afrikaans stars actor George Antonio and a local cast led by Hanty Kashongo, Nangana Mushavanga, Diyanni Longwani, Renah Xuesom and Mbango Munyima.