Drama enthusiasts in Lilongwe were on Friday filled with sorrow, disgust and anger after watching a Kaya Films production, which was premiered at Golden Peacock Hotel.
Titled Misonzi, the movie centres on a 16-year-old girl (Sigele Ackimu) who gets trapped in prostitution, courtesy of a man who presents himself as a philanthropist.
Her misfortune starts from the time she gets selected to a secondary school.
Her parents are too poor to afford the cost of educating her. In the meantime, Misonzi’s father—who spends the best part of his time drinking local gin kachasu—suggests the girl should instead hunt for a suitor to marry her or get domestic employment.
“I want to start reaping the fruits of being a parent like my fellow parents are enjoying in this village after marrying off their daughters,” says the father, starring as Jolomasi.
The father’s drink mate tips him that a wealthy man running a chain of businesses in town, including a brothel—under the character of Mr Nyirenda—would be interested in Misonzi’s services, particularly because the girl is beautiful.
The mother resists. However, her resistance does not yield the result because she, too, is powerless to the husband who paid dowry to marry her.
Thus, in no time Mr Nyirenda comes to pick Misonzi off to the city. Trouble starts here as her would-be boss demands plain sex with her.
And when she reminds him about the promise the boss-turned-trafficker made about sending her to school, Nyirenda shouts at her, describing the helpless girl ungrateful.
“Can’t you appreciate that you now taste sausages in this house? Have you ever eaten this type of food? Why can’t you appreciate?” he yells.
The next day, Misonzi is taken to the brothel where she joins a legion of other girls also trapped in the same way earlier.
A few months into her stay in town, Misonzi falls pregnant, tests HIV positive and her life instantly changes.
Southern African Network Against Trafficking and Abuse of Children (Sanatac) president and Eye of the Child executive director Maxwell Matewere said the movie exposes the reality of the social and mental abuses the majority of children face in Malawi and beyond.
“This movie will be much talked about in our country and our continent in the weeks ahead. What Kaya Films has done reaffirms an indigenous progression in the movie industry that continues to inspire hope and helps to set agenda for our arrival as a nation of great reckoning,” he said.
Film Association of Malawi president Ezaius Mkandawire described the movie as a great achievement for the upcoming talent.
He urged Malawians to buy and watch the film to appreciate the expertise employed in its production. n