The UN’s campaign against gender-based violence kicked off on Friday in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, with a play featuring an all-female cast.
The play opened on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the first day of a 16 day campaign that runs until December 10th, Human Rights Day.
“Nothing connects with humanity the way poetry, music and drama does and this comes in poetry, it comes in music, it comes in drama and these are wonderful vehicles and ways for us to reach people because these conversations are very serious conversations and it’s very difficult to get people to talk about serious things, but if you can get them through music, through drama it’s easier for them to understand it while they are getting entertained but at the same time, it’s touching the core of their humanity then it’s getting their attention”, said author and inclusion advocate, Uri Ngozi-Chukwuka.
The director of the stage play took inspiration from a Broadway show she saw called ‘For Colored Girls’.
“When I started the work, I wasn’t aware of how powerful the work was, but it’s gone on for almost nine years, that means it’s working. Then the other thing that tells me it’s working is that people come back. So, in the lobby you hear people say, ‘this is my fifth time’ and then you hear somebody say five? Is it only five? My own is eleven, you know what I mean? So, people come back to see the show and people come back to see a show when it’s more than entertainment”, admits stage director, Ifeoma Fafunwa.
One of the main actors in the play believes it is a rewarding role as it carries a sense of responsibility and duty.
“Being a part of the show it’s a different small bit of feelings. It’s rewarding, it’s exciting, it also gives you that sense of duty that a responsibility has been handed to you and you have to carry out”, said actor Zara Udofia Ejoh.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with an estimated 200 million people, has always publicised issues around gender-based violence.
Additional sources • AP