Siri ya Mtungi (Secrets of the Gourd), a new 13-part drama series that examines love and sexual relationships among a community of family and friends living in Dar es Salaam, will premiere on Sunday, December 9.
Created by JHU∙CCP’s Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project in partnership with Media for Development International (MFDI) and funded by USAID and PEPFAR, Siri ya Mtungi is the culmination of 18 months of storyline development, scriptwriting, filming and editing, with a crew of 40 professionals and a cast of 20 actors.
MDFI Director and Siri ya Mtungi Producer John Riber describes the television show as a turning point for Swahilliwood – the Tanzanian film industry – as it has brought new skills and opportunities to local actors, musicians, artists and crew, and for MDFI as it combines the magic of film with the power of education. Not only will this television series “wow the local industry,” says Riber, “it will be a big hit with the public and Swahili speaking audiences and fulfills MDFI’s mandate because it raises issues that are both fun and meaningful.”
Because Siri ya Mtungi is being funded by public money through USAID, “there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” describes Riber. In addition to the goal of educating viewers, “our responsibility includes building local capacity by creating or enhancing local skills.”
The television series will follow the characters as they grapple with issues that challenge all Tanzanians, such as family planning and concurrent sexual partnerships. As viewers get to watch complex situations play out behind closed doors, they see and hear the intimate side of relationships and learn that there are no easy answers.
Siri ya Mtungi will air on Sunday evenings at 9:30pm on ITV and on Wednesday evenings at 9:30pm on EATV. The series will be released on DVD after the broadcast, dubbed in English, French and Portuguese, to enable greater reach across Africa.
More information on the television series can be found on the Siri ya Mtungi website: https://www.siriyamtungi.com/en/.