By Rukaya Mosavel
A local short film has placed the sensitive topic of polygamy in Islam in the spotlight and sparked a discussion about its impact on the lives of those who are affected. 2de Vrou (Second Wife) follows the life of Mitchell’s Plain wife and mother Nuraan Ajam who practices her faith diligently. She discovers that her husband has married a second wife and while accepting of his decision at first, she later struggles to deal with its consequences. She is not accepting of him loving another woman, and she refuses to share her husband with another wife. In the first episode, we are given a glimpse into Nuraan’s emotional state as she faces the reality of seeing her husband and his second wife together and her subsequent decision to end the marriage.
Filmmaker and writer Sedick Simons from Koefia Films, who has been in the television commercial industry for more than 15 years, said he was inspired to create his own Islamic content that can educate and stimulate discussion. He had a light-bulb moment after filming his friend, Achmat Ajam cooking food and helping his wife around the house during the holiday season.
He admired this bond between his friend Achmat and his wife, Nuraan. He thought about what it would be like if a third person entered their relationship. This sparked thoughts about how couples in polygamous marriages navigate the struggles of their relationships and how their lives can change.
This topic sparked interest with many viewers because it is not often spoken about in the community but rather marginalised or viewed from one perspective only. Sedick said he wanted to know how women felt about this issue and take their viewpoints into consideration.
“It was extremely difficult. I spoke to quite a few of our local moulanas and shuyoogh and many of them, because of this controversial topic, decided not to partake,” said Sedick.
He then approached a close friend who was a moulana and he was prepared to assist in the making of the film. Maulana Munier Tape said the emotional aspect of polygamy-related to him because he has family members who are in polygamous relationships. As he came to grips with the issue, he realised that polygamy is a sensitive topic for women, and he believes that people should acknowledge the emotional impact of polygamy and not only the spiritual nature. He said that he received mixed reactions from viewers. However, the majority of people are supporting this film because they believe it is time for people to address this controversial issue.
The leading cast members, Nuraan and Achmat are a real-life married couple and Sedick said they were perfect for the role. They are well-acquainted with each other and were previously involved in small editorial and video projects which he had initiated. Achmat and Nuraan, including their entire cast, decided to use their own names for the characters. The second wife is played by Aqeela Alexander.
“I’m that person…I’ll go with it when it’s for fun. That’s why our real names are used,” said the lead actress, Nuraan, who expressed her enthusiasm for taking on the challenging role.
Achmat said that the filming process was all about “having fun”. He enjoyed the creative and enjoyable experience of acting and partaking in the film. He is keen on continuing the film alongside his wife and friends.
Nuraan said she admires the professional and creative nature of Sedick who worked as the cameraman, producer and scriptwriter of this film. To her, seeing his energy and drive made it even more worthwhile and fulfilling.
Sedick said that the filmmaking methodology is guided by the principles of Islam and this shapes the way the film is produced. It is important for him to uphold the ethical and Prophetic ways of living and he takes measures to ensure this.
For instance, the manner in which the characters are dressed in the film is according to Islamic principles. He said that there was a scene in the film where Nuraan was chopping vegetables and pulled up her sleeve instinctively.
“Alhamdulillah, because I came from a visual effects background, I managed to recreate and cover her arm,” he explained.
“We can’t try and educate our community about a topic such as a second wife but neglect the fardh and things that Allah has degreed haram or halal,” Sedick added.
He said he is open to criticism and advice from ulema and Islamic leaders to ensure that they are adhering to the principles of Islam while creating this film.
The film is set in various Cape Flats areas, specifically in the Mitchells Plain area. Sedick said it was not difficult to film in these locations and that people were very helpful and willing to assist in the set-up of the shoots.
Sedick said he has been overwhelmed by the groundswell of reaction and support on social media. The cast itself has been praised for their acting skills and Sedick for his art direction and storytelling. The cast of the series is not professionally trained and this was their first time acting in a short film.
The film is posted on the Facebook page, Koefia Films.
2de Vrou (Second wife) tackles a very pertinent issue in or community and contextualises it for people who have to deal with this on a daily basis. Our filmmaking methodology is guided by Islamic principles; shaping the production process, and ultimately the stories we tell. We are dedicated to create Halal Islamic short films that will be informative and entertaining to everyone.
Posted by Koefia Films on Tuesday, 18 June 2019
The film will be posted on Youtube and part 2 will be released on the Facebook page in the coming days.