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The story of a 40-year old black woman filmmaker struggling with infertility

According to Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA), 1 in 6 recorded couples struggle with infertility in South Africa. Figures of single men and women suffering from the condition are not readily available. Let alone couples that have their faces buried in shame, and can’t open up about their ordeals.

But filmmaker Molatelo Mainetje is tackling the issue head-on. Unable to cope with news of her infertility 10 years ago, Mainetje started documenting her journey in 2007. “When I decided to tell my story it was after a had 2 failed InVitro Fertilisation circles. I was losing my mind. As a natural storyteller, my first instinct directed my to document and share my story” says Mainetje.

Infertility is one of the hardly spoken about subjects mostly in black communities. “I was shameful. But I said to myself, if I don’t tell my story who do I expect to sacrifice their reputation for me to tell this story?” adds Mainetje.

WOMB-MAN documentary film gives the viewer a no-hold barred look into Mainetje’s journey to becoming a mother. Her conservative cultural background conflicts with her now modern city life, as she tries to fulfill society’s expectation of a woman. I’ve travelled the world attending film festivals and markets, and I’ve watched several films on infertility, and I’ve not yet seen any film tackling the subject from the Sub-Saharan Africa. WOMB-MAN gives a fresh twist to South Africa’s narratives.

Having self-funded the film for the past 9 years, the team is currently raising additional funds for the last leg of the production. The National Film and Video Foundation was the first to come on board with seed funding for the project. “With the NFVF giving the project the first nod, it gave us the urge to knock on other doors. We then launched a crowdfunding campaign on Thundafund to raise additional funds” adds Mainetje. The team hopes to raise about R150 000 by 30 October 2016. Through its Emerging Black Filmmakers Fund, the Department of Trade and Industry has also come on board to support the project though the department’s rebate scheme. “We have secured about 80% of the production budget, and hope to raise the required, additional funds by the end of October. We call upon South Africans and the world to open up their hearts and support the making of this important film. It’s a life-changing cause” says the award winning producer, Mainetje.

The clock is ticking. Molatelo turned 40 last year. WOMB-MAN is expected to be released as a multi-platform project during the Women’s Month in 2018; a stage play and book included.