HIV and a Virus of Voice

We had the opportunity to see another powerful social justice documentary at Villanova last night.

Posi+ive is a movie that was filmed in South Africa, and examines the issues of racism, sexism, HIV, and empowerment through the powerful voices of black women.

The movie features Mandisa Madikane, a black, lesbian South African woman who contracted HIV at the age of six after being sexually assaulted by a family friend. Today, some 20 years later, Mandisa is a motivated activist who uses her voice to inspire those battling against the stigmas of HIV, race, and gender.

The movie also features the powerful voices of:

  • Lele, from Khayelitsha, South Africa. Lele is a teacher at Generation Ubuntu, and is an activist and a mother.
  • Rochelle, from Philadelphia, PA. Rochelle is a Villanova grad who has lived in South Africa for the past 10 years and is also a mother and activist.

One Step Films, the student-run production company that created “Posi+ive,” wants to share the stories of those who are facing injustices in their everyday lives.

As one of the student producer states, “Through Mandisa Madikane’s story, we hope to raise awareness and ignite conversation about the serious global issues that are often neglected. We want people to see our documentary and feel compelled to take action. Most importantly, we hope our documentary will amplify the voices of those who are often silenced.”

Similar to the documentary I wrote about yesterday, Hope Works Here, Posi+ive was created as part of the Social Justice Documentary Film course offered by the Department of Communication in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Science. The course gives students an opportunity to create documentary films that spotlight a contemporary social justice issue. The class is made possible through the support of Villanova’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society.

Looking back on the two movies, the titles could have been switched; each movie is about the importance of hope and about having a positive attitude in the face of the most difficult situations one could imagine. The student filmmakers did an outstanding job in achieving their goal of bringing awareness to important issues such as homelessness, poverty, racism, HIV, sexism. By making us aware, they also challenge us to be part of the solution to such problems.

So thank you to the student team that created Posi+ive for doing work that makes a difference, and congratulations on an outstanding job pulling the film together.

And finally, thank you to the stars of the film for your willingness to share your life story. You are an inspiration to all of us.

Here’s the trailer for Posi+ive:

And if you’d like to know the student crew a bit better, here’s a set of short videos of them being interviewed:

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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