Yesterday I watched the movie A Lot Like You. It’s has been showcased at several festivals recently (and still is) but it has also been chosen by PBS to be broadcasted this month, you can check your local schedule at their website (OPB will show it on Feb.14th). It is also available to watch online for free until February 23 at the Black Public Media and PBS.org sites so if you haven’t seen it yet now is the time.
A Lot Like You is a documentary film from director Eliaichi Kimaro that is interesting at many levels.
The subjects it tackles among others, are transracial marriage, immigration, cultural differences between America, Asia, and Africa, and the role of women in different societies.
Eliaichi Kimaro is the daughter of a Korean woman and a Tanzanian man, both highly educated who met, married, and had children in America. The mixed race director later married transracially to a white American man. When the parents of Eliachi decided to relocate definitely in Tanzania after living for decades in the US, she decided to document the transition and investigate about her African family which she didn’t know well.
She traveled with her parents and husband and started to carry interviews with the Chagga people to discover their culture and traditions, but also with the members of her African family. The conversations with the female relatives lead to unexpected and shocking findings.
Those findings resonated specially with Eli, since it turned out she had more things in common with her aunts than she thought.
She discovered that marrying for women wasn’t such a happy event, since the tradition in the village was for men to kidnap and rape the future bride before asking her hand in marriage. Women are forced to marry anyone who abducts them and later have to bear his children and serve him for the rest of their lives.
The film opened up hidden stories not told by any men, not even the director’s father, and although the memories were painful in some way helped the women to heal and the family to reconnect.
Although Eli’s father didn’t approve the practice, he in some way justified it as a “cultural tradition”. The damage this “tradition” does to women can’t be denied; from health issues and psychological trauma to inability to continue their education, is destroying women lives all over the world.
Although the practice seems to be prohibited by law, it is still very prevalent in many countries of Africa and Asia.
If you have an hour to spare, I recommend to watch this movie.
ETHIOPIA: Surviving forced marriage IRIN
Stolen Lives: Bride Kidnapping in Africa
Emily Dugan: ‘Bridenapping’ - a growing hidden crime
Kenya: Bride-Kidnapping, Once a Charming And Romantic Practice, Has Now Turned Ugly
The Secret lives of Child Brides National Geographic