Kantsi Yini Umendvo diagnosed with breast cancer_ Swazi TV_ August 2016

Date: August 11, 2016
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Name of the story: Kantsi Yini Umendvo diagnosed with breast cancer

Name of the station: Swazi TV

Country: Swaziland

If you have sent the artefact by courier to

The Gender and Media Summit Administrator

9 Derrick Avenue


Johannesburg 2198

South Africa


Brief description of the item of work you submitted and motivation of why it is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity in advancing gender equality Post-2015.

Kantsi Yini Umendvo is a 48 minutes short film depicting the life of a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Set against the backdrop of a traditional homestead in Swaziland, where the man’s word is final and where traditions are upheld high, LaMnisi finds herself between a rock and a hard place. LaMnisi a respectful wife is diagnosed with breast cancer and the doctor suggest she gets a conserving breast surgery since the cancer was at its early stages.

She reports back to her husband who makes it clear that no wife of his will go through such. As a traditional man he sees the surgery as a threat to his manhood and pride in a society where traditional regalia takes centre stage and women in weddings dress with bare breasts.

LaMnisi tries by all means to explain to her husband that her breast will not be cut off but the conserving breast surgery is a procedure done to remove the cancer cells from her breast before they manifest. He hears none of it rather he believes the only way out is traditional doctors who prophesy the family is being bewitched.

LaMnisi watches her breast helplessly as the disease manifest in her body. The husbands family meet and decide he should take another wife to help warm his bed. LaMnisi dies alone and is found by her son dead in her house.

This story I believe is the a good gender awareness story as it depicts that in a home setting where the woman is expected to submit to her husband, the rights to certain aspect of life that can advance the woman are overlooked, as she cannot go against her husband who thinks traditional healers are the only solution to her plight. Her submissiveness kills her.


Why did you produce the story? What problem or context is it responding to?

I produced this short film firstly because I was touched by the story of this woman who died because she could not go against her husband’s wishes and get the help she needed. The lesson here is that as much as the world is changing with times but there are real issues that are so deep and between couples.

Issues of their beliefs that can threatened to tear the family apart and women always go an extra mile to save the marriage. LaMnisi might have saved her marriage in the short term but she lost the husband who she was so much trying to appease to another woman. The sacrifices women make in life for their families are so big such that it can cost them their lives.

This story depicts the problem in society where the needs, beliefs, pride and egos of men are put before the needs of a woman. LaMnisi’s husband felt his pride would be dealt a big blow if he had a wife who had her breast cut off. We live in a society where a woman is still said to be truly a wife because she has so much children.

Key objectives

What did you hope to achieve with this coverage?

First and for most I wanted to put out information on breast cancer and show people how hard it is to deal with this disease and how important it is to test now and again. Secondly, once you have been dragonised with it is important to get help as soon as possible and how much the patient of breast cancer needs the support of their loved ones. Another aspect I wanted to highlight is the gender-based violence suffered by women all in the name of being submissive and respecting wives. It is a lament of a woman.

Targets audience

Whom did you hope to reach? Did you succeed in reaching this audience? What evidence do you have to that effect?

With this film, I had hoped to touch government and her stakeholders in terms of advancing and availing more information and treatment of breast cancer as many people as if LaMnisi’s husband is still in the dark and believe its witchcraft. My target audience is 24- 35 years of age male and females. I did achieve my goal as this film was also showcased on the European Film Festival that took place in December 2015 in five locations in Swaziland where over a thousand people who were so much touched by the story of this woman viewed it.

Most importantly passing information through film is the most effective way of doing it. In Swaziland, the film industry is still at its very infant stage and this is one of the locally produced films that grabbed the audience, who are hungry for their own stories. I do believe I evoked emotions and gave knowledge on the disease, as my research was in depth focusing on the conserving breast surgery, home testing, how important is it to have some community helpers who visit and give first aid to patients

  1. How did you go about producing the programme?

How did you gather the data, how many sources, female and male did you consult? Why did you choose these sources and how were their voices important?

In producing this film I did it with my class mates at Limkokwing University who were very instrumental on the research part as we had to interview a lot of people. The story was already available as I got to hear about it from a friend who worked with cancer patients. My sources of information in developing the story included the following people and institutions:

  1. Swaziland National Achieves- (1 male)who were very instrumental on how a traditional wife is expected to behave, what is expected of her and the role of a husband in a home setting. Here I got a male who knows our culture inside out. His perspective on this story was important to help me show a true Swazi lifestyle, what influence certain norms, beliefs had on a Swazi marriage where the husband is the head of the family, and his word is Law.
  2. Sitjeni Chiefdom_ (1 female) this is the setting of the short film where I got how Swazis lived a few decades ago, the manner in which a submissive wife behaves. Here we talked with the chief’s wife who has the first-hand experience of being a wife of a traditionalist, what it means to do as you are told as going against your husband can cause trouble for your family and may reflect that they did not raise you well.
  3. Breast Cancer Network – (2 females) they proof read the script and gave us pointers as to where to correct. They gave us more information on the different types of breast cancer treatments available, when they are done and how. I choose to go with the breast conserving surgery as it suited my developing story. We talked to the female.
  4. Former Volunteer within the Breast cancer network- (1 female)It was a female who gave us a first-hand account of how the woman suffered and why she choose to stay in the marriage, she didn’t wat to be seen as a failure.
  5. Limkokwing- Department in film production- (2 females) Their views on the script and film was important to help bring it to life as it was my first big film project, .


Females = 6




What impact did it have? What evidence do you have to illustrate impact?

Please provide any examples of feedback that you received from the articles (from websites, letters, etc.)

The film had a huge impact and was receive well by the masses. They appreciated more the information they got about cancer and to see a fully flashed SiSwati film which portrayed traditional way of life who all can relate. Some of Facebook comments:

  1. Mcinseli Nick Vundla · 13 mutual friends

“This film is rocking hey, especially the part when da woman finally succumbs to cancer .it like kwenteka mbamba.”

  1. Setsabile Sibisi- ” I loved this film and I hope it gets aired more on various broadcasting corporations.”


”The EU Film Festival 2015 moved to Limkokwing University on Thursday 3 December 2015. As in the previous venues, another packed hall witnessed the screening of four Swazi and European short movies. Two of the movies screened at the

University were products of the Limkokwing university itself. These movies titled; ‘Haunted Fate’ and ‘Kantsi Yini Umendvo’ were filmed and produced by the students themselves.

The university also excelled in putting together the event from the welcome to the actual screening of the movies. Well done Limkokwing University!!!”

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Follow up

How would you conduct a follow up to your story and why?

The follow up on the story I would like to re screen the film on October as it is a cancer awareness month. I want people to learn from this film and get the perspective of what other people go through. To the cancer patients so they can know they are not alone. As it is a month of awareness, I am hoping to reach a higher audience with many stakeholders in women issues who will sit up, listen, and strive to minimise such incidences from taking place in our society.