When Jerry Sesanga premiered his short film at the recently concluded ‘Parliamentary Conference On Tackling Teenage Pregnancy In Uganda’ organised by Plan Uganda, at Kampala Serena Hotel, his short film moved the delegates into an awkward silence as they shared the pain of the character he had presented in is story about early Teenage pregnancy which has become rampant in the country.
The short film ‘The Baby Bride’ was aptly presented to the audience and the timing could not be any better as the stage was set exactly for that – to highlight the plight of the young teenage mothers in the country who have suffered the consequences of the early pregnancies in society ranging from gender-based violence, stigma, discrimination to ‘unfriendly services’ encountered at health and community centers.
The conference aimed at making budgets for sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) count for Ugandan youths, was held on 24th of March at Kampala Serena’s Katonga Hall. The campaign seeks to mobilise the public globally to contribute to tangible advocacy asks and objectives in-country around young people’s sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). It attracted several delegates including Hon. Minister Dr. Chris Baryomunsi who represented Ho. David Bahati as chief guest, Mr Rashid Raved the Country Director Plan International Uganda, Members of parliament, Members of civil society, development institutions, partners, media fraternity and the young people who presented a petition to parliament.
Mr Sesanga who is an Author, Journalist and Film maker is now a Plan International Uganda Goodwill Ambassador, spoke passionately about his project and works and introduced the short film giving a brief background and preview. He also shared a touching story of his life while growing up in very difficult situations before Plan International Uganda came to his aid.
“I am grateful to Plan International Uganda for contributing in making me who i am today and pledge to also use every tool at my disposal to help the young people achieve their dreams by inspiring them with my story” Sesanga said.
THE BABY BRIDE
The film which is set up in a remote village somewhere in Uganda opens with a scene by the dusty road in which a Boda Boda rider seats and waits for customers. It also introduces the lead actor Ndagire Borah Sumayah who is the beautiful innocent village girl named Maria the cyclist falls in love with.
He plots his cunning move to marry the young belle at the stage which is by the roadside near Maria’s school. The following scene is in a classroom which portrays Maria as a bright and active student. In the village, she is sociable, loved by her peers and above all, hard working.
The only problem being that her parents are extremely poor and facing challenges with paying her school fees. The Boda Boda cyclist takes advantage of the situation and offers financial help in exchange for Maria’s hand in marriage which the parents duly oblige and Maria is forced to tearfully marry the man she doesn’t even know let alone love.
A few months later Maria gets pregnant and her friends start to shun her. She is stigmatised and discriminated against. She drops out of school and her future is ruined. Maria is devastated but helpless.
The Ullywood film which runs for about 9 minutes and 12 seconds, is mostly a narrative with limited dialogue though some parts have sub-titles with a characteristic African sound track which keeps the atmosphere and emotions in check. It is absorbing and touching even to the hardest heart and soul.
The film by Golden Age Films was written and Produced by Jerry Sesanga himself. It offers a lot of perspective as it tackles a very relevant topic – ‘Teenage pregnancy’ that needs urgent attention from all sections of society as it is slowly eating up into the core of the productive age group.
It was directed by Jovan Kirumira with sound done by Henry Kiwuuwa although with a limited budget. The message is crystal only the team will get better with more projects.
ABOUT JERRY SESANGA
Jerry Sesanga is a young Ugandan Author, Journalist and Film Maker who has written and published several books both locally and abroad especially in the United States of America where many of his publications are sold.
He went to Frobel Primary School in Bukoto, Sharp infant School in Kamwokya, St Catherine Primary School in Bukoto before joining Kikaaya Primary School in Bulenga where he completed his primary education from.
He then went St. Balikuddembe for Secondary before joining Makerere University where he pursued a Bachelors’ degree in education. This is also where his first novel ‘The Social Nonsense’ was published. He then went on to write several other short stories and poems some of which were published by major media houses in Uganda.
Sesanga started writing at an early age while in primary school and has since pursued his dreams with utmost passion and perseverance. He currently works with MixaTeens Publishing an affiliate of SMS ONE Ltd. More from www.sesangajerry.com