Play highlights plight of women

The play is set to try and tackle issues relating to women when it is staged on June 2-3 in Lusaka at the Pamodzi Hotel. Played under multiple roles by Zambian-born, Sampa Kangwa and Namibian actress, Fridah Karipi, the one hour 40 minutes production comes to Zambia to highlight various issues relating to women. Kangwa said the two-day performance in Lusaka has been sponsored by HIV0S, a Dutch non-governmental organisation and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) to discourage gender-based violence and promote freedom of expression in society. American born playwright, Eve Ensler, authored the play. “The play is intended to celebrate female sexuality. It highlights information on what people need to know about the vagina. Its holy that is why God put it there,” said Kangwa in an interview with Southern Times in Lusaka on May 23 in Lusaka. “The vagina is not a private space but a political space that is used to fight and educate people on various vices like HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, sexual pleasure, family planning, genital mutilation and rape,” said Kangwa, one of Zambia’s highly rated actresses now living in Namibia. She said the ultimate goals of the play, having been performed in Namibia in 2005 and early 2006 were to challenge, induce and change the perception of people in Africa and the rest of the world, women inclusive, about the Vagina. “The vagina is a metaphor of women because the desires of the vagina is what every woman wants,” she said. “The bottom line is that there’s nothing bad about it,” she said of the highly controversial, hilarious, poignant, shocking and disturbing play. Sampa, aware of the Christian background of most Zambians, said their reactions to the production were the group’s greatest challenges in its quest to contribute to society’s perceptions about some issues. She appealed to the church in Zambia, believers and Protestants to support the production and assist demystify society about the myth. “If the church stands up to challenge the theme of the play, then they should be hypocrites,” she said. Sampa said the production has been earmarked for performances in Zambia and other countries in southern Africa and elsewhere where MISA and HIVOS have their presence. The play seeks to promote freedom of expression and gender equality and discourage violence against women in society. “If you have never understood women, this is your final chance to get it right”. The Vagina Monologues comes to Zambia barely weeks since Christians in the country cried for an outright ban on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Three church mother bodies, Christian Council of Zambia, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Zambia Episcopal Conference have argued that the theme of the film was an affront to Christian faith. “As Christians we are not going to overreact to the blasphemous issues raised in the Da Vinci Code,” read the statement signed by the faith-based bodies. “We don’t want to leave our Christian heritage to distorted views,” It added. The film alienates Jesus Christ from God and that the Holy Spirit was not a real entity.

June 2006
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