9 October 2017

Malawi: Theater Group Speaks Out On Abortion, Forced Marriages

Mzuzu — A Mzuzu based theater group, Oneness Arts Theater, has spoken out that the power to either go for or against abortion is a decision for the woman carrying the pregnancy and not anyone else.

The message came through their play, 'Arrogant ambition' performed at Luwinga Secondary school on Friday, in which a reputable and high class couple forces their only daughter Mandaaliza (Sarah Katunga) to abort her pregnancy because the man responsible is not of their tribe.

Oneness Arts Theater director James Gondwe told Malawi News Agency (Mana ) that the play carries that message because abortion is a matter of life and death and must, therefore, be decided for or against by the pregnant woman herself.

"In developing this play, we had in mind parents, guardians and even fathers who are often known to exert pressure on the women in as far as the decision on abortion is concerned.

"However, we believe that since it is her life which is at stake, a woman should be left free to decide without being influenced in any way," Gondwe said.

Mzuzu University Theater Group (MUTAG)'s Misheck Mzumara, who patronized the show, shared the sentiments in the play.

"As artists, we are there to bring insight on issues such as these and I agree with the group's stand that the women in question should be the sole deciders of their fate in as far as abortion is concerned since the decision would affect them either way," he said.

The play also bemoans the practice of arranged marriages based on tribe, a development that is said to be fueling divisions in communities.

Apart from Luwinga, the play is set to be performed at Ekwendeni and Mary Mount Girls secondary schools in the city.

It aims at encouraging girls and women to rise up and stand for decisions that affect their future.

One of the students who watched the play, Gladys Phiri saluted the group for taking the bold step to encourage girls and women to stand for what is good for them.

She further said it was a great thing to showcase the play at a co-education school so that even boys could be encouraged to become men that can respect the views of women.

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