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‘The Secret Life of Us’ not yet done

By Sam Banda-Times Group

The play The Secret Life of Us, which has embraced several platforms in the country, is still touring as it has an important message to communicate.

While some have sampled the production, others are yet to appreciate it; hence, continuation of the tour.

The play will be staged at Madsoc Theatre in Lilongwe tonight and then St Joseph Teacher Training College in Dedza District tomorrow.

The Secret Life of Us was written in 2012 by Dipo Katimba and Effie Makepeace.

The idea was conceived by Katimba, who stars in the play, who was interested in telling the hidden stories of sex workers.

Katimba and Makepeace, who were at the time working together on women’s arts projects with Nanzikambe Arts, embarked on research and writing exercises.

They interviewed and worked with women involved in sex work and transactional sex, finding out about their lives.

The two wanted to get behind the label of ‘prostitute’ or ‘sex worker’ and portray the women who are involved in this work as living full lives as valuable members of their communities and families, as mothers, friends and women in their own right.

They were also interested in the challenges they face, and the support that they provide to each other, as well as reasons why women may choose to do this work.

The Secret Life of Us follows the story of three sex workers, Deborah and Chikondi— who have been living and working together for many years— and Mphatso, a young girl who arrives on their doorstep with nowhere else to go.

The play was first staged at the Arts Café, Nanzikambe Arts, in 2012, directed by Katimba.

But, this year, it has been revisited to examine how the lives of sex workers and attitudes towards them have changed.

The production is the outcome of collaboration between Pamthunzi Arts and Mzuzu University Theatre Group (Mutag).

In this new version, the play is directed by drama lecturer Misheck Mzumara.

“We are happy to have the play on stage again and give a chance to people in Lilongwe and Dedza so that they can appreciate the story of sex workers,” Mzumara said.

Katimba, who has been in theatre for years, said, through the play, they want to trigger debate and speak for sex workers.

Apart from Katimba, other actors starring in the play are Maureen Mzumara and emerging actor Chikondi Litete, who is a third-year arts student at Mzuzu University.

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