October 31, 2020

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USAID Collaborates with High Profile Zimbabwean Actors

United States Embassy

Press Release: New movie “Shaina” delivers powerful health messages through a compelling story about young Zimbabweans

After the Success of “Inside Story” and “Lucky Specials”, USAID Collaborates with High Profile Zimbabwean Actors to Deliver a Unique Coming-of-Age Story

Harare, 21 August, 2020 – As part of a media initiative to empower adolescent girls and young women in Sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the production of the feature-length film, Shaina, premiering on ZBC-TV on August 21 at 9PM and 23 at 10PM.  Shaina brings together the best of Zimbabwe’s known talent, including Jesesi Mungoshi, Leroy Gopal, Edmore Sandifolo, Marian Kunonga, and Charmaine Mujeri, alongside a host of refreshing young Zimbabwean actors.

Shania tells an evocative story of a group of friends who encounter life-changing obstacles that mirror the day-to-day challenges faced by many adolescent girls and young women in Zimbabwe. When the sole guardian of Shaina dies, a series of life-altering events are set in motion that force her to find strength to secure her future.

Through Shaina, USAID seeks to reach over a million Zimbabweans with life-saving health messages on key issues such as poverty, pregnancy, maternal and child health, gender-based violence, malaria, and tuberculosis.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe and HeForShe Ambassador, Brian A. Nichols, applauded the film. “Shaina draws attention to the obstacles and violence young girls sadly shoulder every day as they seek to fulfill their dreams. At the same time, it celebrates the innovative nature of young Zimbabweans, even in the face of this challenging environment. This film truly has it all.”

USAID/Zimbabwe’s Mission Director, Mr. Art Brown, said, “I am very proud of our contribution towards empowering young women in Zimbabwe through messages such as the one reflected in Shaina’s dynamic story line. It entertains, while providing helpful tools and information about health issues and social challenges faced by adolescent girls and young women in Zimbabwe.”  Mr. Brown added, “Quite simply, this is a film everyone needs to see!”

Wilmah Munemera, the actress in the lead role, Shaina, known as ‘Shine’ in the film, said, “I feel quite responsible because these things are real. They are issues that you ignore because you are not going through them. Acting it out, you realize that you are not only doing it for yourself, but for all the other girls that are going through it.”

Wilmah’s co-stars and the Shaina production team were similarly inspired by the opportunity to work on the film:

“I love the fact that we start from humble beginnings and transform into something more. Shaina shows that as a girl, despite your beginnings you can transcend all that and do your own thing,” – Actress Taru Chirume, ‘Busi’.

“The talent that these kids have is something to applaud. I said “WOW,” we are going to produce a film about young women with strong mothers. Most importantly for me, the female characters are the ones driving the story,” – Actress Charmaine Mujeri, ‘Mai Faro’.

“Being part of something that is educating people and empowering girls is overwhelming, and at the same time, it’s the greatest experience ever because I am going to show girls that you can be stronger for yourself and for your friends,” – Actress Tadiwa Marova, ‘Faro’.

“Shaina brings together the different lives of four girls from different walks of life, who are friends and encounter daily challenges that a lot of us are facing. It is simply a story that I would watch, whether or not I was involved in the project,”  – Producer Siphiwe Hlabangane.