The multi award-winning film “Kyenvu” was finally premiered in Uganda for the first time since its production. The short film has been on a tour worldwide where it won several prestigious awards. It was written and directed by Kemiyendo Coutinho with a cast of only Ugandan actors. Michael Wawuyo Jr and Joel Atiku (Prynce) among others featured in this film.
Kemiyendo Coutinho is an actor/director/producer who started off her career in the entertainment industry by featuring in plays at the National Theatre. Kemiyendo is moved by and known for communicating issues using visual arts and film.
Kyenvu is a name that was depicted from the Sunflower, and in the movie, one can see how much the sunflower was utilized.
The film starts off with grit and humour, highlighting the fun sides of Uganda as a nation and as a people. But later, it delves into what most women have to deal with when being pursued by some men.
A young man fell for the lead actress and pursued her for three months. Some would consider that creepy and harassment while others will think it’s romantic – knowing what you want. However on their first date, he delayed and she got raped.
At this point in the film, everyone was completely overtaken with sorrow. Many silently screaming, “don’t…!” while others calling on her suitor to run faster, but unfortunately all pleas didn’t matter, she succumbed to it.
He was late, he found her all bloodied and completely beat. He tried to offer solutions but she was suffering and just wanted to wash off any marks and reminders of the rape ordeal and the whole traumatic experience.
The actress chose to reveal her nude body, to show that she was owning her body and for everyone to understand exactly what women who have been raped go through.
All this shows what really happens in Uganda. She gives the example of the law banning miniskirts in Uganda, something that set loose hooligans who assaulted women, undressed them along with a rise in sexual harassment cases.
The Kyenvu story had no conclusive ending leaving questions like whether there was justice, but Kemiyendo intended it to be this way. In the real world, the stories of many female rape victims never get an ending.
She wanted us to leave with the cliffhanger and go think about solutions for the atrocities we see happening to women and the community.
The scene in the shower, she wanted the men to deeply understand exactly what women go through after rape, and emotionally experience what they go through.
The movie tells a very powerful story of what women deal with silently in Uganda every year. She has given many rape victims a voice and clearly depicted how men treat women like property.
Kyenvu was produced with little to no funds at all and it focuses on several issues plaguing Uganda. Particularly the way women are treated and perceived by the society that should uphold them and raise confident Queens.
Chapter Four, the organization that Kyenvu partnered with to get the screening in Uganda, will be starting campaigns across the country to end gender-based violence.
Coutinho said that it took her 3 years to create a script because she had to do thorough research for the project. Kyenvu was written with the help of her friend who went through some of the ordeals shown in the movie. A tragedy that eventually brought us this brilliant film.
She showed the movie to decision and policy makers and hopes that it will be distributed countrywide to encourage women and men to stand and speak up about what’s happening in their communities.
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Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Associate at the Uganda Child Cancer Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!