BY tafadzwa kachiko

ROOFTOP Promotions and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) have joined forces to produce a new drama series titled Chipo, which interrogates how institutions including churches perpetuate the abuse of the girl child.

The series, which premiered at the Women Wine Words Festival at Theatre in the Park last week, was directed by Marian Kunonga.

In the play, the lead character Chipo, played by Gamuchirai Mukwakwami, is a young woman from the rural areas who has high hopes of transforming her life and that of her family by furthering her education.

She is, however, raped by a well-respected man in her church, who she holds in high esteem.

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Excellent camerawork led by director of photography Admire Kanhenga, production designing by Mercy Mubaiwa and presentation by actors colour the story in which religion finds itself on a collision course with the law.

Mukwakwami said playing Chipo was very challenging to the extent that she broke down on set.

“Playing this character wasn’t easy. Sometimes, I would cry on set. I want to thank the director for being patient with me. Above all, it was a learning curve,” she said.

The audience that packed the venue described the drama as an outstanding creative work that would complement efforts to fight the abuse of the girl child in Zimbabwean communities.

“This is a powerful drama. I have been at many platforms where child marriages was discussed but this hit me hard. It really touched me,” children’s rights advocate, Mantate Mlotshwa said.

Rooftop Promotions producer, Daves Guzha, said the film, written by renowned writer Virginia Jekanyika, would go on tour to affected communities after women’s rights advocate Tatenda Nyamhunga indicated the need to reach out to such areas.

“There is a lot of community engagement needed. There is need to reach out to the most affected communities,” said Nyamhunga.

ZWLA director Abigal Matsvai Pasipanodya told NewsDay Life & Style that her organisation partnered Rooftop Promotions after realising that film and theatre would be instrumental in disseminating information necessary to end or minimise the abuse of women, especially the girl child.