A year after Uyinene Mrwetyana’s death we look at the story behind the GBV film ‘Again!’
Written by Director Stephina Zwane
In an industry where we would rather only talk about the best way to sell chocolate and the latest deodorant, it’s not always easy to talk about the more serious topics like Gender Based Violence perpetuated on women. I consider myself privileged because, when I recently shared a poem I had written, with friends and colleagues, it was their overwhelming response that led us to a point where we were able to shoot a Public Service Announcement. I had written a poem in 2019, to deal with an incident that has changed the country forever, the death of a young woman, Uyinene Mrwetyana. I had never been so affected by someone’s death before, especially someone I had never even met. She represented to me, so many women that I know and those I don’t know. Her death, once again reminded me just how unsafe women are in this country. Where a trip to the post office that so many of us have made before, ended up in her brutal rape and subsequent murder.
Unbeknownst to me, my sharing of the poem, became an unofficial call to action. In a matter of days, the treatment was ready to be presented to our team at Bomb Commercials. I found myself surrounded by women and men who were eager to add their time and talents to this project, not because they had nothing else to do, but because it became a vehicle that they could use to contribute their voice in this fight. It became their way of participating in something that is bigger than ourselves, in the hope that it will reach even one person, and affect their lives for the better. There we were, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, ready to leave our hearts on the floor for a cause that is so close to many of us, that was sparked by a poem, which was never going to leave the pages of my notebook, had another girl not been found, hung on a tree, while 8 months pregnant. This was our reality. Not just something we read about in newspapers, but something that could happen to any woman living in our country. We had to do something. We braved the cold winter weather, to work together in producing a piece of work that we could all be proud of, but more importantly, a piece that could start a conversation at least, and at most get the men in our country to understand that they are killing us, both figuratively and literally.
It’s been an amazing journey, working with some of the best in the business, crafting what we hope will add to the conversation around GBV in South Africa. Most times as filmmakers in commercials, we put our energy and talents in selling chocolates, this time, we put our hearts and souls in something we wish we didn’t have to, a PSA centered on GBV awareness. It’s been an honour to be able to contribute in our small way to the second pandemic affecting our country, where women are raped and killed every day, by men.
Written & Directed: Stephina Zwane at Bomb Commercials
DP: Gaopie Kabe represented by Exposure Crew
Produced by: Marc G Harrison
Art Director & Stylist: Dylan Lloyd
Exec Producer: Gavin Joubert
Editor: Andrew Traill at Ludus
Production: Bongumusa Zungu & Natasha Simpson
Post: Ludus Post Production
Gear: Media Film Service