Feature film on HIV prevention to be launched

MASERU — A new feature film that focuses on preventing the spread of HIV will be officially launched at Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Wednesday.

The film is called Tsaša.

Silas Monyatsi, who is the film’s executive producer, told the Weekender that the film will be launched as part of the Ministry of Health’s National HIV Symposium.

“The launch will be held within the National HIV Symposium being organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,” Monyatsi said.

He said shooting for the film was done in September last year but they could not release the film then due to some technical challenges.

“We incurred a lot of technical troubles, on top of the editing. This delayed the release of the film.”

Monyatsi said the film targeted children from as young as 10 up to adolescence as they form part of the group that is most vulnerable to being infected with HIV.

Lesotho has the world’s third highest HIV prevalence in the world.

“The key point of the film is HIV prevention among the youth population in Lesotho.

“It is going to touch on issues that have been identified as drivers of HIV transmission among people including peer pressure, poor communication between parent and child, alcohol abuse, transactional and intergenerational sex, to mention but a few,” Monyatsi said.

He said Tsaša was an initiative of the Ministry of Health’s education division.

It was done with help from Unicef, the government of Japan and the European Union.

Monyatsi said the film will be screened at youth centres throughout Lesotho as the ministry pushes to reach its targeted audience.

He also said they were planning to submit the film to international film festivals to reach a wider audience.

“The film was shot with full HD (high definition) cameras so it meets international standards. The picture quality and the artistic photography are incredible,” Monyatsi said.

He said the film had also unraveled a lot of talent among local youths.

“All the lead roles of the film were taken by first time actors and this was very exciting for me. With projects like these, the film industry is sure to grow and reach greater heights,” he said.

The film centres on a young girl named Bophelo from the highlands of Lesotho who decides to study in Maseru in preparation for her tertiary transition.

She sells the story to her father who is a farmer and a strict disciplinarian.

The father agrees but her mother is violently opposed to the decision.

Bophelo, 20, along with her childhood friend Sebolelo, then move to Maseru to pursue their Form E studies.

On arrival, they befriend Nthofela, a Form E repeater.

Nthofela has lived in Maseru all her life and stays with her relative who is a shebeen queen in Sea Point, a working class suburb in Maseru.

But after some time, Nthofela introduces Bophelo to alcohol and men.

Peer pressure takes over Bophelo’s life and she completely loses the plot.

Tsaša features Reitumetse Phelane (Boitumelo), Rethabile Letsae (Sebolelo), Palesa Matabane (Nthofela) and James Matjeloane (Mpeli) as lead characters.

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