Angelina Jolie stars in an Ethiopia film By Nairobian

February 22nd, 2014 Print Print Email Email

Angelina Jolie is the face behind a new Ethiopian film Difret where she takes on the role of executive producer.

The film, which is directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, follows a girl and female lawyer who are determined to bring attention to the Ethiopian tradition of telefa – marriage by abduction.

Difret is a feature film based on the true story of a legal precedent setting court case that outlawed abduction for marriage in Ethiopia also referred to as telefa.

The cultural practice of telefa involves abducting a girl, hiding her and then raping her until she becomes pregnant. Then, as the father of the child, the man lays claim to his future bride. The young girl’s fate is sealed when her abductor approaches the village elders to negotiate the bride’s price and act as middlemen between his family and the abducted girl’s family.

This has been a way of life for centuries in Ethiopia, until one girl changed it all. In 1996, Hirut Assefa shot and killed her abductor with his own rifle. Three hours away, in the capital city of Addis Ababa, Meaza Ashenafi, a renowned young female lawyer hears about Hirut’s story.

Knowing that Hirut is facing the death penalty or life imprisonment, the lawyer embarks in a long battle to save this young girl’s life and to change the culture.

Telefa finally becomes illegal. Ethiopia is a country close to Jolie’s heart, as it is where her daughter Zahara, 9, was adopted from in 2005. She and Brad Pitt have since returned to the African nation and donated shs 258 million to help fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis there.

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