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90 years after, Aba women’s riot remembered in August Meeting


A scene from the play

Ninety years after the women of Oloko led a war to speak against the injustice and violence towards women, Raconteur Productions, staged a play titled, August Meeting to celebrate the heroic acts of these women in the ancient city of Aba.

The performance, which held on December 8, 2019, was an opportunity to educate, entertain and thrill the audiences.

The female cast strategically pointed out all the problems women face in the society today, such as gender inequality, dearth of women participation in politics, female genital mutilation, and domestic violence. The play tells the story of the women’s war in 1929, its victories and the need to build on the gains, which led to the inception of the August Meeting.

The stage play was brought to Aba courtesy of the US Mission In Nigeria and the American Film Showcase as part of their commitment to the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign.

The day started with a film screening of The Prosecutors, a documentary by Leslie Thomas. The Prosecutors is a feature-length documentary telling the story of dedicated lawyers who fight against rape and impunity, violence against women embarking on the long journey towards justice.

After the movie screening was a session on Media Advocacy led by Matthew Cerf and assisted by Temitope Ogungbamila of the Justice Empowerment Initiative, highlighting the key ways for a successful media advocacy and practical steps to use the media for change.

The show was well attended with over 600 Aba residents. 70 per cent of whom were women. Also in attendance were some community women leaders, chiefs and women led organisations.

The people of Aba expressed their gratitude for such an educating and enlightening play that has opened their eyes to the need for the August Meeting and stressed that women play key roles in societal development and should be encouraged. A few who were oblivious of the details of the 1929 Aba Women’s riot were grateful to have learned what caused the riot and the gains of the women to the journey thereafter. The women were inspired to continue the August meeting with more reasons that will be beneficial to their fellow women and the society at large.

The producer, Chioma Onyenwe, pioneers this movement. It was directed by Kenneth Uphopho, written by Paul Ugbede with an outstanding cast, which includes, Gloria Anozie-Young, Bella Rose Okojie, Ijeoma Aniebo, Inna Erizia, Odera Orji and Deola Gimbiya.

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