Skip to content
1981
Women in Screenwriting
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145

Abstract

This article focuses on the Zimbabwean film (1992), arguably one of the most important films in the history of sub-Saharan Africa. Directed by the Black Zimbabwean Godwin Mawuru, it was the first feminist film in Zimbabwe and in the region, highlighting the plight of women who become the property of their brothers-in-law after their husbands die. The article addresses the issues of the origins of the story and the authorship of the screenplay. On the final reel of the film, the story credit names the accomplished Zimbabwean female novelist, Tsitsi Dangarembga; while the screenplay credit names Louise Riber. Riber served as the film’s White American editor and co-producer who, with her husband John Riber, managed the Media for Development Fund in Zimbabwe. The key question of this article is simple: who wrote the screenplay for ? Through the physical and metaphorical journey of this research, we discover that the story is based on the personal experiences of Anna Mawuru, the director’s mother. This is the first time that this fact has surfaced. As such, this article also offers some reflections on issues of adaption/translation, particularly in the context of postcolonial collaborations.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/josc_00034_1
2020-09-01
2024-06-16
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Bartlet, O.. ( 2000), African Cinema: Decolonising the Gaze, London:: Zed Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Burns, J. M.. ( 2002), Flickering Shadows: Cinema and Identity in Colonial Zimbabwe, Athens, OH:: Ohio University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Cham, M., and Imruh, B.. (eds) ( 1996), African Experiences of Cinema, London:: BFI;.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Cohen, K.. ( 1979), Film and Fiction: The Dynamics of Exchange, New Haven, CT:: Yale University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Corrigan, T.. ( 1999), Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader, Upper Saddle River, NJ:: Prentice-Hall;.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dangarembga, T.. ( 1988), Nervous Conditions, Harare:: ZPH;.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Derrida, J.. ( 1998), Monolingualism of the Other: Or, the Prosthesis of Origin (trans. P. Mensah.), Stanford, CA:: Stanford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Diawarra, M.. ( 1993), African Cinema, Indianapolis and Bloomington, IN:: University of Indiana Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Dudley, A.. ( 1984;), ‘ Adaptation. ’, in Concepts in Film Theory, New York:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Eco, U.. ( 2001), Experiences in Translation (trans. A. McEwen.), Toronto:: University of Toronto Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Everyone’s Child ( 1996), Tsitsi Dangarembga, John Riber and Andrew Whaley (wrs), Tsitsi Dangarembga (dir.) , Zimbabwe:: MDF;.
  12. Fisher, A.. ( 2010;), ‘ Funding, ideology and the aesthetics of the development film in postcolonial Zimbabwe. ’, Journal of African Cinemas, 2:2, pp. 11120.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Flame ( 1996), Ingrid Sinclair, Barbara Jago and Philip Roberts (wrs), Ingrid Sinclair (dir.) , Zimbabwe:: MDF;.
  14. Gansel, M.. ( 2018), Translation as Transhumance (trans. R. Schwartz.), New York:: Feminist Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Givanni, J.. (ed.) ( 2001), Symbolic Narratives in African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image, London, Harrow and Asmarah:: BFI;.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Haraway, D.. ( 1988;), ‘ Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. ’, Feminist Studies, 14:3, Autumn, pp. 57599.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Harrow, K.. ( 1999), African Cinema: Post-Colonial and Feminist Readings, Asmarah:: Africa World Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Harrow, K.. ( 2007), Postcolonial African Cinema: From Political Engagement to Modernism, Bloomington, IN:: Indiana University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Hungwe, K.. ( 1991;), ‘ Southern Rhodesia propaganda and education films for peasant farmers, 1948–1955. ’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 11:3, pp. 22941.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Hungwe, K.. ( 1992;), ‘ Film in post-colonial Zimbabwe. ’, Journal of Popular Film and Television, 19:4, pp. 16571.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Hungwe, K. N.. ( 2005;), ‘ Narrative and ideology: 50 years of film-making in Zimbabwe. ’, Media, Culture & Society, 27:1, pp. 8399.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Jakobson, R.. ( 1971;), ‘ On linguistic aspects of translation. ’, in Selected Writings, vol. 2, The Hague:: Mouton;, pp. 26066.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. McLeod, C.. ( 2011;), ‘ Teaching aberrance: Cinema as a site for African feminism. ’, Journal of International Women’s Studies, 12:4, pp. 7996.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Nembaware, S.. ( 2014;), ‘ Novel-film interface and postcolonial dystopia: A comparative analysis of Tsitsi Dangarembga’s novel and film, Nervous Conditions and Neria. ’, Imbizo, 5:1, pp. 5259.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Neria ( 1992), Louise Riber, Tsitsi Dangarembga (wrs), Godwin Mawuru (dir.) , Zimbabwe:: MDF;.
  26. Neria collaborative project website ( n.d.), https://neria1993acollaborativeproject.wordpress.com/. Accessed 20 September 2020.
  27. Neria Documentary ( 2019), Agnieszka Piotrowska (wr./dir.) , Zimbabwe, Tanzania and UK:: Thinking Films;.
  28. Piotrowska, A.. ( 2017), Black and White: Cinema, Politics and the Arts in Zimbabwe, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Piotrowska, A.. ( 2019), Neria - Creative Collaborations_long (2019), documentary, Vimeo , 13 August, https://vimeo.com/355494149. Accessed 20 August 2020.
  30. Piotrowska, A., and Mawuru, A.. ( 2019), Neria Documentary, interview, Gweru, Zimbabwe , January.
  31. Piotrowska, A., and Mawuru, J.. ( 2019), Neria Documentary, interview, Harare, Zimbabwe , January.
  32. Piotrowska, A., and Mungoshi, A.. ( 2019), Neria Documentary, interview, Gweru, Zimbabwe , January.
  33. Piotrowska, A.,, Riber, J., and Riber, L.. ( 2019), Neria Documentary, interview, Arusha, Tanzania , February.
  34. Polizzotti, M.. ( 2018), Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto, Cambridge, MA:: MIT Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Said, E.. ( [1978] 2003), Orientalism, London and New York:: Penguin Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Sakarombe, P.. ( 2018;), ‘ Gendering cruelty: An investigation of the depiction of the cruel male in Godwin Mawuru’s Neria (1992). ’, Global Media Journals, 11:1, pp. 2134, https://globalmedia.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/280. Accessed 20 May 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Serafina! ( 1992), Mbongeni Ngema and William Nicholson (wrs), Darrell Roodt (dir.) , South Africa, USA, France and UK:: Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films and BBC;.
  38. Shaka, F. O.. ( 1999;), ‘ Instructional cinema in colonial Africa: An historical reapprisal, part 1.1. ’, Ufahamu, 27:1&3, pp. 2747.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Stam, R.. ( 2004), Literature through Film: Realism, Magic, and the Art of Adaptation, Malden, MA:: Blackwell;.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Stanislavski, K.. ( [1957] 2010), An Actor’s Work on a Role (ed. and trans. J. Benedetti.), London and New York:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. The Engagement Party in Harare ( 2013a), Agnieszka Piotrowska (wr./dir.) , Zimbabwe and UK:: Thinking Films;.
  42. The Engagement Party in Harare ( 2013b), Vimeo , 24 May, https://vimeo.com/66882333. Accessed 20 September 2020.
  43. Thompson, K. D.. ( 2013), Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity, Bloomington, IN:: Indiana University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Ukadike, N. F.. ( 1994), Black African Cinema, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA:: University of California Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Venuti, L.. ( 1995), The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation, London and New York:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Warner, M.. ( 2018;), ‘ The politics of translation. ’, The London Review of Books, 40:19, 11 October, https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v40/n19. Accessed 20 September 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Piotrowska, Agnieszka. ( 2020;), ‘ Who is the author of Neria (1992) – and is it a Zimbabwean masterpiece or a neo-colonial enterprise?. ’, Journal of Screenwriting, 11:3, pp. 287302, doi: https://doi.org/10.1386/josc_00034_1
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1386/josc_00034_1
Loading
/content/journals/10.1386/josc_00034_1
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error