Friday, May 24, 2024

‘The Carrier’: An Intimate Look at HIV in Africa from a Female Perspective

maggie betts
Maggie Betts

*All 28 year-old Mutinta Mweembah ever wanted was a husband and children. In the documentary, “The Carrier,” you’ll see the unassuming Zambian woman has that – but as you would imagine she’s living far from a fairytale existence in the poverty stricken South-Central African country.

The documentary premiering on the World Channel tonight (01-19-15) at 8pm ET provides a gripping view into her life as a pregnant HIV-positive woman in a polygamous marriage.

Maggie Betts wrote and directed the documentary, spending some six months filming Mweembah in her village of Keemba.

“It’s about everything  she and really her whole family go through during this time period that she’s pregnant and trying to prevent her baby from being born with HIV,” Betts said.

Mweembah’s husband and his two other wives are also HIV positive and this film shows the interaction between them as they live with and treat the disease in different ways.

Betts, a New York City socialite, says she wanted to do this project because she “always wanted to make a documentary that sort of explored the AIDS issue in Africa from a very very intimate side and frankly from a female perspective as well.”

Poverty the likes seen by Mweembah – is nothing Betts has ever known first hand.  She admits she’s lived a privileged life as the daughter of investor Roland Betts, who developed and owns New York’s Chelsea Piers.

“I’ve had a very privileged background for which I’m extremely thankful for. My experience is different from other peoples. I was not raised with nor do I care to have a perspective on the world where that is in any way a part of the value system,” Betts said.

The filmmaker says her mother gave her another perspective on wealth because of what she didn’t have explaining,

“My mother comes from an extremely poor background. And that’s her mentality. Her mentality is you have to work.”

Zambia is a country of 11 million people and has one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world. This film shows how the country is working hard to stop not only the spread of HIV/AIDS but also mother to child transmission (as in through the womb).

“The Carrier,” is part of the series “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Exchange,” hosted by actress Yaya DaCosta, executive-produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT).

Listen to Tené Croom’s exclusive interview with Maggie Betts:

Watch the trailer for “The Carrier”:


Tene’ Croom is president of Pittsburgh based Tene’ Croom Communication ( Contact her at: [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @TcTene

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