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Zimbabwe

A film by Darrell Roodt, Zimbabwe 2008.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
James Bridges Theater
1409 Melnitz Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

A young girl named Zimbabwe (so named by her patriotic father) finds that life gets even tougher in rural Zimbabwe after the death of her mother from the dreaded “thin disease” - AIDS. Her father has also perished from the disease, as has her elder sister, making her responsible for her younger brother and her niece, her sister’s baby daughter.

The village Headman tells her they must leave, that the village can no longer support them. A jar buried by her mother before her death contains some money (now rendered useless over years of hyperinflation) and an address of an aunt in the Zimbabwean border town of Beitbridge.

The three children walk for days until they get there, only to get an icy reception from the aunt. Though she reluctantly agrees to let them stay, they are treated like slaves. Zimbabwe is all but pushed by her extended family to jump the border into South Africa to find work to support them all.

In South Africa without any papers, she finds herself trapped in an illegal employment racket, where her pay is almost totally stolen, and she’s constantly raped at the house where she works. Threats of being reported to the police render her powerless against her abuse and exploitation.

Eventually she takes matters into her own hands and has to turn herself into the police - knowing she’ll be deported - rather than face a worse outcome.

Her home-coming is bittersweet: her Aunt’s guilt and worry creates an emotional and warm welcome but Zimbabwe learns that her brother, Dumi, has just left to attempt a crossing of the Limpopo River in search of her… the cycle of tragedy continues.

Part of the International Human Rights Film Series.
 


Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, UCLA International Institute

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