March of the Women in Hear Word


Yinka Olatunbosun
With glittering garments, shimmering stilettos, whiff of exotic perfumes and red carpet paparazzi, distinguished Abuja residents led by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo received the intense drama, “Hear Word” as it made its way recently to the nation’s capital which is fast gaining grounds as the next high-powered cultural city after Lagos. Inside the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, the lights shone brilliantly bringing home the artistic truth about women in a society that conveniently places men above them.

This Abuja performance of Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True, sponsored by Etisalat capped a three-continent tour, that saw the crew and cast take their craft to select institutions and countries in Europe and the USA. That arguably is a wise economical initiative that works well in the face of naira flotation. For theatre artists, floating advocacy on the platform of a stage production is also key to empowering the woman and the girl child since they constitute the vulnerable in the society.

To that end, faces from Nollywood with convincing characterisations helped to propagate this women empowerment theme in the drama. For instance, Joke Silva, a lead character, portrayed the character of a semi-educated who she was able to work her way up her line of trade through a combined dint of hard-work, commitment, focus and resilience. She took the responsibility to create a secure future for herself and thus gaining some degree of independence from her husband.

Her husband’s kinsmen, oblivious to her personal drive to be financial independent, had come to take possession of her husband’s property upon his demise. They could not eventually do so after having to accept, though in a hard way, that their brother’s widow was a self-sufficient woman who had empowered herself through industry. Her triumph would remain a didactic reference for many other women whose struggles for identity, self-sufficiency, empowerment and empowerment are mirrored in full or part by the play.

Hear Word! , a collection of 10 stories of real life accounts treats issues of inequality, discrimination, abuse and violence, and other social, cultural, traditional, economic and political manifestations as well as other societal practices that inhibit the Nigerian woman from reaching her full potentials and becoming a meaningful contributor to the development of the society at large.

The play inadvertently celebrates the beauty of the African woman, especially the one from within. The Abuja performance which Mrs. Osinbajo described as “a story of transformation that has gone beyond expectation’’ offered an insight into the world of possibilities for women who are not treated as the weaker sex, but accorded respect, fairness and given the room for self-fulfillment.

It is no gainsaying that the success story of Hear Word! is way beyond its artistic value. It mirrors the commitment of the Etisalat brand to empower people across board, from providing innovative telecommunication services to building capacities. The Director, Brand and Experience, Etisalat Nigeria, Elvis Ogiemwanye, conveyed as much while evaluating the play against the company’s vision of creating and supporting platforms that empower people to discover themselves and reach their full potentials.

“We are an innovative and expressive company and are delighted with the Hear Word! team and the progress made so far with this initiative. We share in the everyday experiences of our customers, and seek for appropriate channels to create desirable experiences for them. We believe in providing people the opportunities to express themselves, be it in innovation, music, sports, literature, photography, theatre arts, education, entrepreneurship and any other way we can contribute to the development of the society,” he said.