MÉBÉT - A MOTHER’S PLEA
A short film about child marriage and its effect on society.
MÉBÉT (A Mother's Plea) tells the story of one girl’s attempt to turn the tragedies of the past into lessons for the future. It is a conversation across generations to deliver positive change.
The film showcases aspects of West-African culture to counter the negative narratives about the continent, and portray the reality of our journeys through stories of resilience and hope.
What future do we want for
girls around the world?
MÉBÉT is set in The Gambia, a country with a relatively high prevalence of child marriages. It is estimated that 30% of girls in The Gambia are married before turning 18 years old.
UNICEF Global Databases: Child Marriage (March 2018)
Young and talented girls often have to drop out of school in order to not only fulfill what are believed to be traditional and cultural duties, but also adhere to the will of their parents. Culture and tradition are important aspects of society; this is why MÉBÉT is not passing judgement, but starting a conversation through respect and mutual understanding.
14 year old Njillan, one of the top students in her class, has just been awarded a government scholarship to pursue her secondary education. Excited to share this achievement with her family, she is welcomed with bad news: Her father has given her away in marriage to Sengan, despite the protests from her mother.
Njillan is forced to let go of her dreams and fulfil her marital duties. She falls pregnant and faces complications while giving birth to her son, Modi. She doesn’t survive. Modi grows up and
is initiated into manhood by his grandfather, Njillan’s father. Now a man, he has the opportunity to carry forward the culture of child marriage or reverse the trends and protect his future daughters. He has an encounter with the spirit of his mother, telling her story and pleading him to break the cycle.
All the music in MÉBÉT was created by Image N Sound, solely for this film, and is the property of RebelVZN.
A sister and a dear friend of mine was forced into marriage as a child to someone she did not choose – in fact, she was too young to make a choice at all. She had to endure unimaginable pain and challenges during this period, but her resilience saw her triumph over all adversity.
MÉBÉT deals with the serious matter of child marriage, which continues to be a challenge in the lives of many young girls in The Gambia and all over the world. The motivation for child marriage in a lot of households and families may include economic challenges and/or a strong desire to uphold certain traditions and cultures. We present this film in a way that values the good aspects of our cultures and traditions, but going further to pose a crucial question: What happens to our community if girls continue to be married off, without their consent and against their wishes?
My sister and friend was lucky to come out of it alive and turned around her life to become an example of resounding success – many others are not so lucky!
Ousman Sayeed Jarju
OUSMAN S. JARJU
OUSMAN S. JARJU
& MUHAMMED H. MAHONEY
PA MANJAI SEY
SHIEKH T. SECKA
MUHAMMED H. MAHONEY
IMAGE N SOUND & REBELVZN
Mariama Colley is a radio personality, gender rights activist, stage and film actress, whose passion is rooted in utilizing art as a platform to effect change within her community. In 2013, she was nominated for the African Oscars Award. She is also the founder of Studio 411 Production, a medium which aims at creating impactful screenplays and films. She is acts the lead role in MÉBÉT.
Jainaba T Sarr is a development worker, a Human Resources and Professional Development Specialist, a freelance writer of folktales and the environment, and an advocate for cultural preservation in The Gambia. Jai studied Political Science and African Cultural Area Studies during
her undergraduate years at the College of Wooster, Ohio. She initiated and manages the SLA Cultural Choir. Jainaba makes her debut as a screen actor in MÉBÉT.
Sheik Tijan Sonko began his journey as a screen actor in 1998, and his work has been recognised through various awards including Best Male Supporting Actor in The Gambia (2012); Best Documentary Film (2016).; and a distinguished Certificate of Achievement by the Chapel Recording
Company (USA). He is also a trained filmmaker following completion of the Motion Pictures Arts Certificate (MPAC) programme, and is the Vice President of the Screen Actors Guild- Gambia.
Rohey Camara is an actress and singer, and has starred in productions like The Hidden Fantasy; Love Confusion; Twisted Mind; and The Mirror Boy. She was the winner of the Best Female Supporting Actress Award in 2016, and was also nominated for the award of Best Actress in 2018.
The Gambia - First Public Viewing
It was an honour to present MÉBÉT to the Gambian public on the 17th January 2020, at the Ebunjan Theatre.
The premiere was sold out, and we were overwhelmed by the love and support we have received on this journey. This means a lot to us, especially given the very serious subject the film addresses: Child marriage.
CHANGE THE FUTURE
To start the important conversation about how a society needs to treat their children, we are delivering MÉBÉT where it is needed most: in the communities and spaces where child marriage continues to exist. With dialogue in Wolof, and reflecting the Senegambian culture, our aim is to show the MÉBÉT film in schools, villages and towns in The Gambia and Senegal for a start, and extending to other countries that may be struggling with the issue of child marriage.
Through community outreach, the film will be broadcast (projected on screen), followed by discussions about the subject matter with members of the community. RebelVZN will lead this drive along with trained and experienced women and child rights advocates.