Vuta N’Kuvute (Tug of War) based on Adam Shafi’s award-winning Swahili novel, is a coming-of-age political drama about love and resistance set in the final years of British colonial Zanzibar. The film weaves through 1950s coastal culture across the divides of class and racial segregation that were imposed by the colonial regime. Denge, a frustrated and rebellious Zanzibari young man who is part of the freedom struggle against British rule meets Yasmin, a recent runaway Indian-Zanzibari bride whose equal rebelliousness drives her to seek her own independence. Their romantic but forlorn relationship is coupled with the daily struggles of finding their place in the resistance movements for independence.
Vuta N’Kuvute is a story of a people, the self and the other. It ties together struggles at all levels of oppression in a colonial society into a history of one people, a free-er people.
The speech below was delivered by Ms. Dorothee Braun, the director of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Dar es Salaam.
Hon. Mohamed Mchengerwa, Minister of Culture, Art and Sport
H.E Didier Chassot, Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania
Dr. Kiagho Kilonzo, Executive Secretary of Tanzania Film Board
Mr. Elijah Mjata, President of Tanzania Film Federation
I am very excited and honored to be given the opportunity to deliver remarks on behalf of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Tanzania. We like to congratulate the production crew, the actors and everyone who has given a hand to jointly make the production of Vuta N’ Kuvute a success. As Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Tanzania, we feel proud to have sponsored Vuta N’ Kuvute which has, in a few months since its premiere, been received with enthusiasm within and outside Tanzania. In such a short time, the film has already been shown in major film festivals around the world.
The screening of this film at home in Tanzania is an important and wonderful step.
In my opinion, this film does not only educate us about the history of Zanzibar during colonialism. It also calls on us to reflect on at least three issues, which are;
First, imagination. The film shows us the importance of the ability to envision, to creatively imagine beyond what we are taught within the educational system. In today’s world, given the challenges we are confronted with, we need people who have the capacity to imagine and see the future from a different angle and offer alternative perspectives.
Second, the power of women. Vuta N’ Kuvute shows us the power of women, their freedom to decide for and believe in themselves, and their love within and for the struggle.
Third, the phenomenon of desire in our lives. Desire has the power to direct our lives including our actions. Vuta N’ Kuvute differentiates between the desire to take pride in dancing on the stage boards of the rich and powerful and the desire of continuing to learn different theories, to enhance humanity, to discuss with and educate our fellow human beings in order to build a society that is based on dignity, equality, rights and the freedom of expression.
Lastly, I would like to extend my appreciation to Century Cinemax for hosting the screening of Vuta N’ Kuvute. It is my hope that Tanzanian cinemas will continue to screen films that have been made in Tanzania, in East Africa as well as on the continent of Africa. It is of high importance to integrate historical and socially critical films within the formal education system.
I’d like to end here and thank you for your attention!
Mh. Waziri wa Utamaduni, Sanaa na Michezo,
H.E. Didier Chassot, Ambassador of Switzerland in Tanzania
Dr. Kilonzo, Katibu Mtendaji wa Bodi ya Filamu
Eliya Mjatta, Rais wa Shirikisho la filamu
Amil Shivji, Mkurugenzi wa Kijiweni,
Habari za jioni.
Ninafurahi sana, tena sana, kwa kupewa nafasi hii ya kutoa salamu zetu kutoka Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Tanzania. Tunapenda kuwapongeza waandaaji na wasanii walioshiriki katika filamu hii na watu wote ambao walikuwa wameshirikiana nanyi katika kufanikisha filamu hii ya VutaN’kuvute.
Kwa sisi Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Tanzania tunajivunia kuwa tulisaidia upatikanaji wa rasilimali fedha kwa ajili ya utengenezaji wa filamu hii ambayo imepokelewa vizuri sana ndani na nje ya Tanzania.
Katika kipindi kifupi, filamu ya VutaN’Kuvute imepokelewa na kuonyeshwa katika matamasha makubwa ya filamu duniani.
Maonyesho ya filamu hapa nyumbani Tanzania kwa kweli ni hatua muhimu sana na nzuri zaidi.
Kwa maoni yangu, filamu hii haituelimishi tu kuhusu historia ya Zanzibar wakati wa ukoloni lakini pia inatualika kutafakari na kujadili angalau kuhusu mambo matatu:
La kwanza: Maono: Vuta N’kuvute inatuonyesha umuhimu wa uwezo kuona mbali na ubunifu ndani ya mfumo wa elimu. Kwenye dunia ya leo na changamoto zake sisi wote tunahitaji watu ambao wanaona mbali na wanaona mtazamo mbadalaa.
La pili: Nguvu ya wanawake: Vuta N’kuvute inatuonyesha nguvu, uhuru wa kujichagulia na kujiamini wenyewe na upendo wa wanawake ndani ya mapambano.
La tatu: shani ya matamanio. Matamanio yana nguvu kutuongoza kwenye maisha yetu, kwenye matendo yetu. VutaN’kuvute inatofautisha kati ya matamanio ya kucheza kwenye majukwaa kwa ajili ya kuwafurahisha matajiri na matamanio ya kuendelea kujifunza nadharia tofauti tofauti, kujenga maarifa, kuborehsa utu, kujadili na kuelimisha wenzetu kwa kujenga utu, usawa, haki na uhuru wa mawazo katika jamii.
Mwisho, ninapenda kutoa shukrani kubwa kwa Century Cinemax kwa maonyesho ya VutaN’kuvute. Ni matumaini yangu kwamba kumbi za sinema za Tanzania zitaendelea kuonyesha filamu ambazo zimetengenezwa hapa Tanzania, Afrika Mashariki na barani Afrika. Katika mfumo wa elimu rasmi maonyesho ya filamu za kihistoria na kijamii ni muhimu sana.
Naomba kuishia hapa. Asanteni sana kwa kunisikiliza.