I LOVE the Vikoba Women


If there is one thing that divided the crew and me it was shooting the Vikoba meeting scenes. The crew, especially Leanne, dreaded the Vikoba scenes as it meant a lot of dialogue, shooting day for night (MEGA sound issues for Tom) and long days: I LOVED a Vikoba day as it meant I could do something useful like pay drunks in the bar across the way to drink somewhere else at 10am, but more importantly it meant I got to hang with the fabulous women who played the characters that made up the micro-lending ‘vikoba’ group. Here are ten reasons to love this group:

  1. Group leader Mwanaidi who plays the head of Vikoba ‘Leila’ was perhaps the most enthusiastic of all the women about being in the film. When we met to discuss her role and the consent form she kept my hand firmly held in hers and said she would do whatever and had acting experience. No-one can bang a ledger book with such enthusiasm as Mwanaidi.
  2. Sesilia who plays Cecilia (most characters have different names, however Cecilia expressly wanted her name to be the same in the film) has been a spokesperson for the women involved in the film since November. She is always a good benchmark to run ideas past and see what we’re doing right or wrong.
  3. The group members are all about the free lunch and water. And who can blame them? Everyone loves a free lunch. They also had the most modest diva demands of not finishing their warmed up water but always insisting on a new cold bottle.
  4. All of the women would attempt to gossip with Leanne and I at lunch. We would not have a clue what they were saying but a lot can be communicated with a ‘sawa’ and a table slap.
  5. Sesilia has a super cute son – baby Charles – who would cry every time he saw me or Leanne. This became a personal project to make baby Charles like me, and persistence pays off! We were laughing and having fun, until the wrap lunch party and he took one look at me and cried again.
  6. One of the most moving scenes in the film was a Vikoba scene that left cast and crew in tears.
  7. At the wrap lunch a) all of the women clapped enthusiastically when I was praising the cast members. They then ignored the section where I praised the crew, knowing that a good speech is a short speech. One member then interrupted my speech to check I was going to finish my lunch as she was going to bag it up if not.
  8. At the wrap lunch b) Mwanaidi announced to everyone that Bello who plays Pili fancies AC Gary. It then became clear that ALL the women fancied Gary, particularly the Vikoba women who mobbed Gary (except Cecilia who is too classy for that, and was recovering from malaria so don’t think she had the energy) and insisted on multiple pictures with him.
  9. At the wrap lunch c) the Vikoba women got on the beers. And then like anyone sensing a free bar made sure they had some in their bag to take home. This created a drinks arms race as those drinking soda thought it only fair to double their efforts to get their money’s worth. This was quite the shock to me after I had spent most of the afternoon drinking water and having exit meetings with people to discover the bar bill that I expected to be Tsh50,000 was Tsh220,000. Nice work ladies!
  10. All of these women told me they do not have easy lives and they believe that this film can help, therefore as cringey earnest as it may sound when the difficult parts of the film manifest I think of the Vikoba women, and this brilliant facevikoba



3 thoughts on “I LOVE the Vikoba Women

  1. Hi Sophie,
    As Leanne’s Mum, thank you so much for posting all this … it gives me real insight into how difficult it has all been. I didn’t think I could be more proud of her, but do you know what, after reading your blog, I blooming well am! She speaks so highly of you all. I send lots of love and prayers that this film will be recognised for the effort and the talent that lies behind it. Thank you. Lynda x
    ps She is grounded!


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