Baby Mamas DIFF launch at Ster-Kinekor in Musgrave: (from left to right) Thembisa Mdoda, Dineo Ranaka, Stephina Zwane and Salamina Mosese Picture: Rajesh Jantilal

“Baby mama drama”, words often uttered by men experiencing problems within the realms of their relationship.  But where does the female narrative fit into this picture?

Feeling the desire to provide a platform where female voices and stories are shared, Stephina Zwane wrote and directed the film, Baby Mamas to feature at the 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on July 22-27 at selected theatres.

Zwane believes it is always going to be important to have varying perspectives in the arts. “Most stories are not told from a female experience, and when they are, they are few and far between. I wanted to see a story told from my perspective as a woman and share that with the world. Baby mama drama is always told with a male narrative. I wanted to delve deeper into the issue by seeing the other side of the story.”

Set in Johannesburg, Baby Mamas revolves around the daily lives, loves and drama of four professional women who are all in different stages of their own real-life baby mama drama. Sharing similar experiences, a sisterhood  develops among these four very different women who find the strength and courage in each other to navigate the treacherous waters of their relationships. “The film hopes to show an uplifting story, one that showcases the African woman in a positive light. This image is important and is one that needs to be celebrated.”

Zwane, who also wrote and directed feature film; Love and Kwaito, co-Produced Baby Mamas with Salamina Mosese, under their production company, Sorele Media. The SAFTA winning actress, Mosese is also a lead in Baby Mamas along with sought-after actresses Kay Smith, Thembisa Mdoda and Dineo Ranaka.

“We now live in a time where people are very aware of female writers and director and the fact that they are not given enough of a platform. We live and hope that the world is ready, that our talent will be celebrated,” said Zwane.

Baby Mamas retells a narrative, often overpowered by the reverberation of the male voice, using strong female characters.  “I hope audiences will question their own definitions of what a baby mama is and also be able to put themselves in their shoes. More importantly, to celebrate the baby mamas in their own lives and understand that they are also faced with everyday challenges in life and in love.”

As for bringing her vision to life, Zwane said, “The writing and the directing processes were different experiences. The writing allowed me to delve into characters that I was building and moulding. The directing process allowed me to be able to bring those characters to life.

Having travelled the world to cities such as New York, the African Premiere is a critical milestone for any film, as it makes the journey toward its local country release.  The film screens at the Musgrave Ster Kinekor Complex at 16:00 on Sunday 22 July as part of the DIFF screening line up. The film promises to make you laugh, cry and show you a different side to modern-day Baby Mamas.

As part of the Emerging Black Filmmaker’s Fund (run by the IDC, DTI and NFVF), the film is set to release across cinemas in South Africa on October 12 2018.