First lesbian film to be screened to the public in Zimbabwe


A scene from My Name is Rose

In what producers say is a first, a South African lesbian film will be screened in Zimbabwe next month.

My Name is Rose addresses issues such as forced marriage, African tradition and the newly discovered love between two young African women within a patriarchal society.

Starring Enoch Mnguni, Slindile Dlamini and Zenele Mazibuko, the hour-long film tells the story of the emerging sexuality of a young Zulu princess in rural KwaZulu-Natal who flees to Durban to avoid being “sold” to an older chief for 40 cattle.

My Name is Rose will be screened at the upcoming 17th Annual Zimbabwe International Film Festival, being held from the 2nd to the 10th of October.

It was produced by Mlungisi Msomi and Sekara Mafisa as one of nine LGBTI-themed short films to tell stories of young men and women grappling with their sexuality or gender identify.

Msomi and Mafisa believe that My Name is Rose will be the first LGBTI-themed film to be shown to the general public in Zimbabwe.

The film was released in May this year and has been shown at festivals in Durban and Pretoria. The second and third films in the LGBTI series will be released next month.

Msomi told Mambaonline that the Zimbabwe screening is significant because it will be open to the wider public and not just to LGBTI people in private screenings; hopefully helping to continue “conversations and awareness” about LGBTI issues on the continent.

He said that the film also aims to show that homosexuality is not unAfrican, pointing out that “there is evidence in history of the existence of lesbians in [African] communities.”

Gay sex and public affection are illegal in Zimbabwe, with penalties of up to three years in jail. Same-sex marriage is also illegal, as entrenched in the country’s Constitution.

Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe has stated that gay people are “worse than pigs and dogs” and that they “don’t have any human rights at all.”

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