Sun, 13 Mar 2005


Uganda stops staging of women's rights play

The Vagina Monologues, a graphic play written by an American feminist, was banned from performance in Uganda because the government says it promotes homosexuality and immorality.

The play by Eve Ensler features women's experiences of violence, including sexual abuse, and was scheduled to be staged in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Feb. 19.

The Media Council, a government media and broadcasting regulatory body, canceled the staging as it "observed that the title of the play alone was extraordinary, sensational as well as shocking and therefore out of place considering Uganda's social economic context", Information Minister James Nsaba Buturo said in a statement.

The minister criticized the play, saying that "it focuses little on sexual violence, instead women's private parts are the focus of the play. This is stuff that homosexuals and pornography promoters feed on".

However, organizers said that the play was meant to educate Ugandan women about their rights and the dangers of violence against women and that its proceeds were meant to help in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged northern region of the country.

"Our major concern was the suffering women are going through, and even though the play has been cancelled, our message was sent. The play was a fund-raising venture to help in rehabilitation of the north," said Sarah Mukasa, an official with one of the women's groups promoting the play. -- DPA