ZAMBIA: A Soap Opera that's Changing Lives
Are you seeing impact from your involvement in the show?
For me, the fact that a lot of young people are watching means we’ve done something right. Everyone has a character they can identify with. “Oh my god, that was me last week!”
It gets people thinking, “If I meet a girl at the club, am I putting people at risk?” People are realizing that every action you take has a consequence. People have heard the rhetoric but watching characters you can identify with makes people say, “Did I have sex with my boyfriend without protection?”
Of course, it’s not an immediate “I see the light! Hallelujah!” moment. But people are thinking about it; they are talking about it. That’s the important thing. It’s triggering discussion, which is leading to action.
What do you hope your involvement with Love Games will achieve?
I hope more people use protection. That’s one thing I’m really passionate about, more people using protection. More people getting tested. More people realizing that love and trust are not enough. If it can help bring about a generation free of HIV/AIDS, if it can help get us a step closer to that—I’d be happy.
On a personal note, I want to see strong women celebrated in this country so that our young girls can know that you can be a woman and be powerful. Our young girls need to know you can be both a woman and a powerful person, without having to compromise.
I was raised by a single mother, a strong woman. One of the first things my mom bought me was a bookshelf, with books about my heritage, books that made me feel good. She talked to me. I think more parents need to talk to their kids, about the right things.
Let’s talk about Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, let’s talk about Wangari Maathai. Let’s tell our girls that they should aspire to be more than the wives of great men.
I would rather be the one ruling a country than be married to someone ruling a country. That’s the best dream we can give our girl children: Dream of being a ruler, not the wife of a ruler.
This story was produced in collaboration with the International Reporting Project and World Pulse. In July 2013, Managing Editor Corine Milano traveled to Zambia as an IRP Fellow to meet with experts on global health issues; go on site visits to some of this country’s most successful projects; and to work with World Pulse community members to tell their stories about global health in their country.