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Ditshwanelo, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, officially opened its 17th Annual Human Rights Film Festival at Maru-a-Pula School on the evening of May 31. The festival, which aims to contribute towards developing a human rights culture in Botswana by raising awareness about violations and advocating for positive change at national, regional, continental, and international levels, brings to the forefront films that explore these issues.
The opening film, which extended from the theme “mining, accountability and human rights;’ featured a haunting extract from “Blyvoor Mine Village: The Human Toll of State & Corporate Abdication of Responsibility in South Africa.” It explored the cessation of the mine and the impacts it had on the human rights of the surrounding community, their right to development and an environment that prioritises their health and wellbeing. It screened courtesy of Lawyers for Human Rights South Africa, 2016. This documentary also hit close to home, as it resounded the loss and fears that our own people continue to face after the closure of the Bamangwato Concessions Ltd (BCL) Mine.
Other films to feature during the festival include A German Life, Genocide in the Middle East and Europe, Born This Way, Do I Sound Gay, The Land Between and local documentary We Are All Blue by Donald Molosi amongst others. The themes gravitate to issues such as sexual orientation, human trafficking, violence, culture, religion, and their ties to human rights.
Local theatre production Madi Majwana: Stories From Your Pocket also performed to the delight of the guests. A panel discussion inclusive of BCL miners, a widow of a former BCL miner and Botswana and South African attorneys added to the insightful ambiance of the opening.
The films are scheduled to run until June 7. The closing films will be screened in Maitisong Theatre while the others will be shown in the Maru-a-Pula School Audio-Visual (AV) Centre. Tickets are P30 per session; free for students who present valid student IDs; available at Maitisong.
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