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 Wednesday 03 October 2007
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NIGERIA: "Nollywood" joins fight against HIV

More space and airtime is now being devoted to HIV/AIDS in the Nigerian media
ABUJA, 17 October 2006 (PlusNews) - Actors and filmmakers from 'Nollywood' - as Nigeria's film industry is colloquially known - have come out in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

'Cinema for AIDS', a week-long event in Abuja, the capital, was backed by the National and State Action Committees on AIDS and the Ministry of Health, and featured film showings and workshop sessions to highlight the role motion pictures can play in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS. International and local film producers, directors and actors attended.

Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Actors Guild, Dan Amedu, said the goal was to raise awareness about the dangers of unprotected sex. "Abstinence is the best prevention, but for people who cannot stick to one sexual partner, if they must have sex, let them protect themselves with condoms."

Film director and producer Lancelot Imaseun described Nollywood as the authentic voice of Africa and wondered why the continent was not making better use of the media to tell the rest of the world about the reality of HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere. "AIDS exists also in America, Europe, Asia - it's everywhere."

Actress Hilda Dokubo berated actors who avoided roles portraying individuals living with HIV/AIDS. "They feel it will stigmatise them, and this does not help us at all," she said. "Actors are people who enter into others' rooms without knocking. People appreciate them for the characters they play in films so we can help to make a lot of changes."

She challenged filmmakers to make films about HIV/AIDS without waiting for government support. "We don't receive government support to act in romances that sell well in the market, so why can't we look beyond the National Action Committee on AIDS to shoot HIV/AIDS films?"

Dokubo recalled the harrowing experience of being stigmatised for her role in the film, 'Goodbye Tomorrow', in which she played a woman living with HIV.

"After the film, some of my friends thought I had HIV/AIDS because I had gone down from a size 14 to a size 8 to try and depict the role of the woman.

"It was so bad that I had to go for a test to convince myself. The result was negative, so I decided to frame it and hang it in my room so people wouldn't have to ask me to know I don't have HIV," she said. "What kills people with HIV is not the virus but the stigmatisation."

Theme(s): (IRIN) Arts/Culture - PlusNews


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