The Observer (Kampala)

20 January 2013

Uganda: Movie Fires Up Matembe

Outspoken women rights activist Miria Matembe stormed the podium and spoke her mind after closely watching Shadows of Fate, a newly produced Uganda-Nigerian movie, that premiered at Cineplex Oasis mall in Kampala on Thursday.

She introduced herself as a practical actress who has taken the battle for women emancipation to the streets before pouring out her mind about the movie.

"Can you imagine how stupid these men can get?" Matembe, who was guest of honour, said, drawing many lessons from the revealing movie, which she shared with the audience while educating them about the dangers of sexual-based violence.

"This movie is a mirror of our society," she said, blasting nearly every male character in the movie for taking pleasure in hurting women.

In another scene, which vexed the former legislator, a female character is raped by her uncle and later chased out of home following accusation from her uncle's wife that she seduced her husband.

"The saddest thing is that society does not believe that a woman can be raped. We need to change that ancient attitude if we are to curb gender-based violence," she said, calling upon government to intensify the fight against women abuse.

Matembe further amused the audience -suggesting the movie to be shown in parliament for 'the corrupt legislators.'

"Try to add some political themes next time because women abuse in Uganda is a result of bad governance," she said before telling organizers she had no money to buy a copy of the DVD. She, nonetheless, pledged to lobby for the film's publicity.

Shadows of Fate, the second Uganda-Nigerian movie after the 2006 flop of Roses in the Rain, is a documentation of the ills society has heaped upon women. It stars Nigeria's Clem Ohameze (Mark) and Carlos George Ombonya (John) as criminals whose exploits affect a range of women including their own girlfriends.

Farida Ndausi (Mercy) and Esther Jaqum (Esther) play the role of troubled sisters with each fighting the after-effects of sexual abuse - Mercy turns into a serial killer while Esther resorts to prostitution. The film's strongest point is its highly relevant theme -women abuse -which won't be hard for both Ugandan and Nigerian audiences to relate to. However, the movie falls short of basic production elements, perhaps because it was shot in just ten days.

Yet it attracted a total sponsorship boost of $350,000 (about Shs 920m) -that you would have expected sharper pictures and perfect editing. Most of the cast also didn't deliver to the audience's expectations -as the Nigerians failed to deliver their strong West African accent in the Ugandan story.

The movie director, Kingsley Paul Ukaegbu, said three other collaborative films are in the offing with the next one set to kick-off early next month. He hopes to distribute his movies through cinemas and a local distributor.

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