Muzvare Betty Makoni

Muzvare Betty Makoni
CNN Hero and Decade Child Rights Hero

Thursday, 15 September 2011

CNN Hero Betty Makoni visits Pittsburgh to raise awaressness of child rape crisis


Contacts: See cover page to press kit.

Tickets to September 22 screening of Tapestries of Hope:
PITTSBURGH, PA – 2009 CNN Hero Betty Makoni will visit Pittsburgh for a week of events dedicated to raising awareness of the child rape crisis in Africa. Makoni, a survivor of rape at age six and orphaned at age nine, has built four Girls Empowerment Villages in Zimbabwe. These employ a unique model that provides shelter, healing, and education to rape survivors. Makoni was recognized as a top ten CNN Hero in 2009 and is the recipient of awards from Amnesty International and the United Nations Red Ribbon program.

The week will begin with Makoni’s participation, from September 18 to 20, in a conference at the University of Pittsburgh entitled, “Silent No More: Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence.” Among the speakers will be Senator Sekai M. Holland, Zimbabwean Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister; Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer based in South Africa; and Dr. Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya, an honorary professor at Nelson Mandela Metro University.

Makoni will speak at a church, a high school, and at the University of Pittsburgh Ford Institute for Human Security on September 21. On Thursday, September 22, she is the guest of honor at a fundraiser and film screening featuring Tapestries of Hope. This award-winning one-hour documentary exposes the myth, widely held in Africa, that raping a virgin cures a man of HIV. The film also details Makoni’s struggles and triumphs in creating the Girl Child Network of shelters for abused girls in Zimbabwe.

During filming of Makoni’s work in Zimbabwe, filmmaker Risley and her aide were jailed but managed to flee the country with their film. Risley has testified on the child rape crisis before the United Nations, and in the spring of 2011 visited Pittsburgh for an appearance at the TED Awards at Carnegie Mellon University. Local interest in her film generated a grass-roots effort to bring it to the Hollywood Theater, an independent community theater in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

Tickets for the event are $20 and include a “meet and greet” with Dr. Makoni at 6 p.m. with appetizers and music, the film screening at 7 p.m., and Q&A with Makoni afterward. Proceeds from the all-volunteer event go to the Girl Child Network.

To view the trailer for the film, go to To purchase advance tickets, go to

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