“That screening was educational, there is drug abuse, mbanje [cannabis] and cocaine are the most used drugs and during lockdown most young people from my community abused these drugs and the end result was rowdy behaviours. The solution is to create job opportunities or recreational activities for youths so that they do not spend most of their time idle” – Nothabo- Feel it Institute- Bulawayo
In 2022 Sunshine Cinema, in partnership with FilmAid and Internews, launched a programme in Southern Zimbabwe aiming to improve recovery from COVID-19 and strengthen community resilience.
Four young social activists – Emily Mbewe and Willmore Dube from Bulawayo, Linda Muswati from Gweru and Gracious Nyathi from Beitbridge – led the social change programme. Trained in media facilitation and the operation of Sunboxes (mobile solar cinemas), they mobilised audiences and encouraged productive debate about the films screened within their communities.
The selected movies played a vital role in initiating conversations about important concerns affecting communities post the pandemic. During the COVID-19 outbreak, there was an increase in issues such as: school dropout, teenage pregnancies, early child marriages, mental health breakdowns and drug abuse. As a result, the films that were selected, including Amacala, Drugged Out the Future, and COVID-19 and Mental Health Awareness have been effective in serving as a crucial tool for discussing the real-life experiences and situations of the audience. Sunshine Cinema’s work was appreciated by partner organisations, as the films created a more comfortable atmosphere for young people to participate, gain knowledge and express their opinions. The fact that two students from Gweru sought assistance from the SBA after watching Amacala (a film about child marriages), is evidence that the movies had a significant impact on the audience.