By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published May 22, 2014
Four films starring children with indomitable spirits in riveting screen performance have just been shown at Century Cinemax in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
The shortsâ€”YOU CANâ€™T BREAK MY WILL, I FOUND MY WAY, NICO THE DONKEY, SAVING MUGISHAâ€”are written by playwright John Bosco Mukiibi and produced by a non-governmental organisation called Raising Voices.
Watching the bullying and mockery the young Mugisha endures in his boarding school in SAVING MUGISHA evokes all those sad moments some of us experienced when we wetted our beds in our younger days. Overwhelmed by personal problems, Mugisha starts wetting his bed. Every morning brings shame, embarrassment and humiliation to the boy who has to walk around with a placard declaring him to be â€œThe Number One Irrigator.â€
Fed up with living with this shame and humiliation, Mugisha kicks the matron as she joins the pupils in mocking him in the dormitory one morning â€“ an act which nearly leads to his expulsion were it not for the support of a teacher who knows what it feels like to be isolated and at a loss. Mugisha soon stops wetting his bed and his self-esteem is restored.
â€œI agreed to play the role of Mugisha because when I was a young boy I wetted my bed. So I have an experience of this problem,â€ says 16-year-old Raymond Robinson Kayemba. â€œParents should find solutions for this problem and not punish or mock their children.â€
NICO THE DONKEY, directed by Rehema Nanfuka, is about a boy called Nico who either misses his classes or goes to school late because he has to perform domestic chores as his mother is bedridden with illness.
Though feeling like a donkey whose will is controlled by others, Nico has friends, dreams and the will to succeed. And so it comes to pass that where there is a will there must be a way.
Rhonaâ€”in the Patrick Sekyaya-directed I FOUND MY WAYâ€”goes against social and family expectations to complete her education.
Rachael Nduhukire, 12, who plays Rhona says the role seemed interesting to her and that she also wanted to see how it felt like to act in a film.
â€œShe wants the best for herself and her dad because the mother has left the home. She is trying to focus on school but she is being hindered by her dadâ€™s needs,â€ Nduhukire says.
YOU CANâ€™T BREAK MY WILL by Mariam Ndagire revolves around a girl called Binta who is determined to become a medical doctor. But her father, Kashaija, a brick-maker, would like his daughter to get married so he can concentrate on his sonâ€™s education. But it is Bintaâ€™s strong will that eventually prevails.
â€œI was attracted by the script because I have had an opportunity to go to school. There are thousands of girls out there who have been denied the chance to attend school by their parents that still believe that girls are there just to get married,â€ Jamila MulindwaÂ tells ArtMatters.info.
Peter Bahemuka, a Senior Programme Officer at Raising Voices notes that storytelling through film can be a powerful tool to engage audiences on the issue of preventing violence against children.