Fighting AIDS with Stefanie Sycholt's movie "Themba – A Boy Called Hope"
Since the release of Stefanie Sycholt's award-winning movie "THEMBA - A Boy Called Hope", the Cinema for Peace Foundation has been actively promoting this film through its own screenings as well as helping set-up screening tours organized in South Africa and Zambia.
THEMBA tells a story of a boy from South Africa, following his aspiration to become a football player, regardless of earthshaking revelation – both he and his mother are infected with HIV. THEMBA is much more than a soccer film, it is a universal message of hope. This inspiring and entertaining movie is an instrument for the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa where more than 10% of the population is infected. Yet, talking about an infection is still widely considered a taboo.
“THEMBA tells my story. My mother got HIV from her new boyfriend who came from the Eastern Cape. She got very sick and told me it was TB. […] I asked her if she had an HIV test at the clinic. She said she didn’t have HIV. […] When my mother died someone phoned from the Eastern Cape and told me that she and her boyfriend both had AIDS. I wish she had told me she had HIV. I wanted to tell her that I loved her, that I did not care if she had HIV. […] Please let other children see this film. Please let people like my mother see this film.” - Zanele, age 17, Mbekweni Community, Paarl
Since October 2010 THEMBA was screened in over 95 rural and semi-rural communities and reached close to 12.500 people. Screenings followed by discussions have taken place in various rural and semi-rural areas around South Africa, reaching mostly young people, helping to break HIV/AIDS-related stigma and stereotypes.
Children of South Africa had sent a handful of enthusiastic “thank you” letters to the Cinema for Peace Foundation after watching THEMBA.
It is hoped that by continuing to support and raise funds for this Campaign, the movie THEMBA and its message of hope and understanding about the highly taboo subject of AIDS in the community, will reach as many young people in as many communities in South Africa as possible.
The Cinema for Peace Foundation is currently negotiating with its established South African partners on a new THEMBA screening tour in the rural areas around South Africa. The film tour would follow the lines of previous ones that took place in 2010 and 2011 but with the goal of reaching new audiences. For more information on the tours, please read the project background below.
We are also working on finding new partners for new tours and repeated educational screenings in several other African countries such as Swaziland, Uganda, Mali and Nigeria.