Talk: On Power Relations, Motherhood and Termites

A Black Person looks back over their shoulder

Ines Johnson-Spain in Conversation with Tsitsi Dangarembga

The film Kare Kare Zvako – Mother’s Day is based on a Zimbabwean Shona folk tale, adapted here as a kind of feminist cannibalistic (quasi) splatter musical about archetypes. For Western eyes, this format might seem rather unfamiliar. As is the sight of singing, life-size termites climbing out of a mound to rescue a woman who is being killed by her husband. But the themes, transformed here into magical 35-mm black-and-white images, are universal: the mutilated female body, problems of motherhood and gender power relations. Dangarembga also addresses these issues in her other cinematic and literary work. But examining these existential questions in the form of song and dance is new to her too.

In conversation with Tsitsi Dangarembga, film-maker Ines Johnson-Spain considers the context of the film and asks whether the parable could also be seen as a metaphor for conditions in Zimbabwe, a country with a crippled economy that continues to be autocratically governed under Robert Mugabe’s successor.

In cooperation with international images – Film Festival for Women

Short film

The country is stricken by drought. A father is horrified when his desperate wife serves termites for supper. Furious, he […]