Video

Film: Merkato - Addis Ababa's Open Air Market!


MERKATO is a documentary on Addis Ababa's open air market, one of the largest and oldest in all of Africa. The film focuses on the differing lives of a selected group of locals with ties to the market and the ominous threat of modernization. In filmmaker Sosena Solomon's own words:

From the perspective of five personal stories a reflection emerges of a fascinating place that is a true microcosm of the human condition. The culture and way of life for many of Merkato's merchants is under threat by modern development. MERKATO is the final portrait of the people who LIVE, WORK and DREAM within this rapidly transforming reality... The modern development in Ethiopia and its overall impact on the people and culture of this unique community is threatening the survival of MERKATO. I knew this moment had to be documented to share the unheard voices of the people affected the most.

For the next month, Sosena is campaigning for funds to support the film and have it seen around the globe. Head to her Kickstarter to learn more and donate few bucks to an amazing project!

Plus, check out a preview clip of the vibrant life and characters featured in MERKATO above.

Interview
Image supplied by Candice Chirwa.

In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.

It's 2020, and naturally, tremendous advancements have been made across various spheres of society. From the prospect of self-driving cars and drones delivering medicines to rural areas to comparatively progressive politics and historic "firsts" for many disenfranchised groups, we've certainly come a long way. However, in the midst of all that progress, there is still one issue which continues to lag behind considerably and consistently, particularly in less developed countries: menstruation.

Candice Chirwa is a young Black woman on a mission to fiercely change the disempowering narratives and taboos that still shroud the issue of menstruation. The 24-year-old South African activist, who is endearingly known as the "Minister of Menstruation" on social media, wants young girls and women to not only accept but embrace their bodies fully in a society that insists on speaking in hushed tones about a perfectly normal biological process. Both Chirwa's research and advocacy work with the UN and her award-winning NGO, QRATE, has focused on dispelling common myths about menstruating, removing the shame and stigma around it and giving menstruators the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their world through impactful workshops.

And when Chirwa isn't collaborating with Lil-Lets, one of the biggest sanitary product brands on the continent, or co-authoring a bad-ass book titled Perils of Patriarchy, she's dominating the TEDx stage and making sure that her audience, no matter how diverse or varied, leaves the room feeling comfortable and courageous enough to boldly shout the word "vagina".

We caught up with Chirwa to discuss what initially compelled her to become a "period-positive" activist, her continued advocacy work with QRATE and what kind of world she imagines for menstruators.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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