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To stem out the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Botswana, the sound marriage that has been existing between Botswana and the USA has given birth to Morwalela, a television series that was launched on Monday.
Speaking at the official launch of the television series, the Ambassador of the United States of America, Stephen Nolan, said, “Morwalela is yet another example of the long standing goodwill and collaboration between the government of Botswana, the US government and civil society partners in support of the national response to HIV and AIDS.”
He added that the development of Morwalela is part of the concerted effort to walk and talk and use mass media as a strategic tool for scaling up our prevention initiatives.
Morwalela focuses on the everyday trials and thrills of life in a small fictitious village in Botswana.
The show Morwalela reveals the same difficult decisions that many Batswana are faced with in their day to day lives and how the choices they make impact upon their lives and the lives of those they love.
Morwalela will help in highlighting and addressing the social norms in which risky behaviors are embedded; these include concurrency of partnerships, alcohol abuse or any other relationship norms.
The series, rather than lecturing viewers on the issue of HIV or encouraging specific behavior change, addresses the social norms that facilitate the spread of HIV.
The cast ranges in age from six to 60, appealing to audiences of all ages such that families and friends can come together and watch this drama. Morwalela is a Setswana language drama with English sub-titles.
The cast boasts of 13 Batswana and one South African in leading roles, whilst a further 30 Batswana actors are featured in supporting roles.
The original series was written by local writers, Wame Molefhe and Lauri Kubuitsile and Peter Goldsmid devised the screen play.
Present at the launch was the National coordinator for NACA, Richard Matlhare, who said Morwalela is a milestone achievement in the fight against AIDS.
Botswana mass media reaches large numbers of people thereby influencing and shaping individuals and public opinion on matters that affect their lives. Through drama and stories, people are most likely to relate to their own experience and consequently impact on their behavior.
Morwalela is expected to complement existing HIV prevention activities in Botswana and help reinforce a culture of prevention. It is significant because it is the first time a television drama has been wholly developed and produced in Botswana.
The ceremony saw Tsepho Lesole, who was selected as the winner of the theme song competition, walking away with a cheque worth P 10 000 from PSI.
Morwalela TV series will air on BTV at 6.30pm on Mondays from the 12th April.
The series was developed by PSI and produced by Traffic Productions.
The PSI country representative, Toby Kasper, commended the Government of America for supporting them financially to come up with the TV series.