What's so important about friendships between women and how do they change over the course of our lives? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two women about making and keeping good friends. How do you maintain strong friendships when you're constantly on the move?
Uloma Ogba is founder and CEO of Launch Africa, which offers career advice and mentoring to people wanting to work in international development. She works with the United Nations in Rwanda and has also co-founded the non-profit, Give Girls a Chance, which aims to increase access to quality education for girls across Nigeria. Given her busy, international lifestyle how does she keep the friends she has and make new ones when she travels?
Kanwal Ahmed is a Pakistani entrepreneur and founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, an online community which sets out to create a space where Pakistani women feel comfortable to speak their minds. 'I saw thousands of women coming together online, not even knowing each other, but standing up for each other and being there for each other.' More recently Kanwal has also launched a digital talk show, Conversations with Kanwal, about everything from love and loss to cyber harassment.
L: Uloma Ogba (credit: Uloma Ogba)
R: Kanwal Ahmed (credit: Sarosh Pirwani)
Putting women's stories centre stage
Bringing women's stories to the West End and Broadway stage - Kim Chakanetsa unites two playwrights who are on a mission to amplify female voices.
Morgan Lloyd Malcolm wrote the sell-out play Emilia, an all-female production which re-imagines Shakespeare's mysterious 'Dark Lady' and offers a feminist rallying cry. After appearing at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and in the West End, it has now been optioned for a film. Morgan is frustrated however at the relative lack of opportunities for female playwrights. 'There are so many women who aren’t getting to tell their stories and I’m doing my best to crack open the door.'
Katori Hall is the US award-winning writer behind Tina - the critically acclaimed Tina Turner musical, as well as The Mountaintop and Our Lady of Kibeho. Katori began writing because she couldn't find a play that had a scene for two young black women, so decided 'I have to write those plays, then. I have to carry that baton forward and write us into existence, because if I don’t who else will?' She went on to become the first black woman to win the Olivier Award for Best New Play.
L: Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images)
R: Katori Hall (credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images)
How motherhood changed me as a film-maker
Two prize winning documentary makers from Syria and China tell Kim Chakanetsa about using their own lives to explore the issues facing their home countries.
Waad al-Kateab has documented her life on camera in war torn Aleppo, Syria. Whilst conflict, death and cruelty raged around her, she fell in love, got married and had a baby daughter. She captures stories of loss, laughter, sacrifice and survival in her film For Sama. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film won the Golden Eye Documentary Prize in Cannes.
Nanfu Wang was born under the one-child policy in China during the 1980s. After moving to the United States and getting pregnant with her first child in 2017, Wang returned to China in an effort to explore the direct effects of the 'population war' on her family and the wider community. The resulting documentary, One Child Nation, won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Feature at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
(Image: Waad al-Kateab (L) Credit: Waad al-Kateab. (R) Nanfu Wang. Credit: Sundance)
Women living positively with HIV
Two HIV positive women from Kenya and Italy talk to Kim Chakanetsa about how they overcame stigma to live well with the disease.
Doreen Moraa Moracha was born to a HIV discordant couple (positive mother, negative father) and is the only one of her siblings that has the virus. As a young woman she found her status very hard to deal with, and spent some time off her anti-retrovirals. Now 27 and back on her life-saving medication, she has undetectable levels of the disease. Doreen wants to spread the message that HIV is not a death sentence, saying 'I'm just a fabulous host to a tiny virus.'
Silvia Petretti is the CEO of Positively UK, which supports and celebrates people living with HIV. Originally from Rome, when Silvia got her own diagnosis more than 20 years ago, she felt broken and tainted. 'Internalised stigma crushed me and was reinforced by the stigma and ignorance in main stream society. But through meeting others living with HIV and becoming an activist I found a form of therapy and healing. I now believe and feel that I am whole and strong and worthy of love and respect, regardless of any circumstance.'
L: Silvia Petretti (credit: Mareike Guensche)
R: Doreen Moraa Moracha (credit: Michael Kaloki/BBC)
Psychotherapy pioneers: Orbach and Perel
While therapy was once considered the reserve of the rich, it's now part of many people's lives as they deal with trauma, relationship breakdown, and behavioural problems. But it remains relatively exclusive and incredibly private. Kim Chakanetsa is joined by Susie Orbach and Esther Perel, who are both trying to demystify the process without compromising confidentiality.
Susie Orbach is a British psychotherapist and writer. Her first book, Fat is a Feminist issue was a ground breaking global bestseller that looked at the psychology of dieting and over-eating in women. She co-founded the Women’s Therapy room which helps vulnerable women through mental health crises. Her radio and podcast series In Therapy is a dramatised re-imagining of her conversations with patients.
Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist who is credited with changing the way we think and talk about relationships through her books, podcasts and talks. She is host of the highly successful podcast, Where Should We Begin?, which takes listeners inside the therapy room with anonymous couples as clients.
(Image: Esther Perel (L) Credit: Ernesto Urdaneta. (R) Susie Orbach. Credit: Andrew Crowley)