MASERU – The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has indefinitely suspended the release of a local film on HIV and Aids targeting young people.
The Weekender has it on good authority that producers have been advised to rework the film because it was too explicit.
The film titled Tšasa was set to be released in November before the premiere was postponed by its producers to December due to “payment delays”.
A source close to the production said the film was just too sensitive.
“I felt butterflies in my stomach when I watched the film. It is just too sensitive,” she said.
The ministry’s chief health education officer Khabiso Ntoampe this week told The Weekender the film would be launched as soon as producers submit the final product with its required units.
“The ministry and all stakeholders have seen the film and they have submitted their comments. So we are now waiting for the producers to put the final touches before releasing the film.
“The producers need to submit the final product with 100 units of the film for distribution,” he said.
The film is targeted at adolescents and young people who face a high risk of being infected with HIV and Aids.
It tackles issues that are identified as drivers of HIV transmission among young people including peer pressure, poor communication between parents and children, alcohol abuse, transactional sex and inter-generational sex.
Ntoampe said the film has been screened at youth centres to get views from young people.
“The young people who watched the film liked it. This will make it easier for them to see the reality of the pandemic,” he said.
“I have been monitoring and managing this project and I am confident to say it adequately talks to our target market.
“It promotes an HIV and Aids-free young generation and leaves the viewer with something to think about,” Ntoampe said.
Leaders at Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA), a youth centre in Maseru where the pilot screening took place last year, told The Weekender the film is a perfect local production to open up the reality of HIV and Aids to the youth.
“The sooner the film is released the less our work of trying to promote behaviour change among the youth is going to be,” LPPA youth leader Moholobela Fobo said.
“The film opens up the reality of how young people are living. It is explicit but truthful,” Fobo added.
Another youth leader, Refiloe Lefatla, acknowledged some old people might perceive the production to be too sensitive.
“Old people will see it as too explicit and too sensitive to watch because they don’t want to face the reality that we live in.
“To give you a view, there is a lot of sex, a lot of kissing, a lot of drinking and parents might want to ignore all this yet such behaviours are fuelling the high spread of the disease among us,” Lefatla said.