UNESCO showcases Prudence to mark World Disabled Day

prudence_mabhena2PARIS - Music by Prudence is a film about a young Zimbabwean singer whose voice could not be silenced by abandonment, abuse or abject poverty. (Pictured: Prudence - who sings in five languages, is sharing her astounding talent with the world.)

It has received an Award of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar) in the category of Documentary: Short Subject in 2010. Produced by iThemba Productions and Elinor Burkett, the 33-minute documentary stars Prudence Mabhena, a talented young woman from Zimbabwe suffering from arthrogryposis, a rare disorder that severely deforms the joints of the body.

“Prudence, who sings in five languages, is sharing her astounding talent with the world. The story of Prudence and her band of fellow disabled musicians, Liyana, is one of courage, hope and music.

You quickly forget that Prudence is disabled because shes such an amazing, dynamic person. Its unbelievable that a girl left in a hut to die is now celebrated in the world for her talent. I hope everyone gets to see this movie and to know her the way that I do, said Roger Williams, producer of the film.

For a long time almost no one knew about that hauntingly beautiful voice of Prudence. No one knew the strong, resilient woman that owned it. When Prudence was born, her paternal grandmother wanted her dead.

In Zimbabwe disabled children are sometimes believed to be the result of witchcraft. In extreme cases families kill them – to remove the curse from their family.

Prudences mother kept her and fed her. Cast out of her husbands (Prudences fathers) home, she brought the baby to her own mothers rural home. Prudence maternal grandmother took care of the child and taught her to sing. A working farmer, she would strap the little girl to her back as she worked the fields. But when Prudence turned 7, she knew she couldnt school her. So she sent her to live with her father and his new family.

There, Prudence fell prey to neglect and isolation. Her stepmother refused to touch her, and called her a worthless, helpless ant. For two years, Prudence lived like an animal – crawling on the floor and sleeping in her own urine, and worse. Every day, she dragged herself to a mango tree in the backyard and told herself that her nightmare will end someday. She was despondent enough to attempt suicide twice.

Post published in: Music

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