Director Mari Gardner 114m September 17th 2.00pm 80 Front St East Toronto Imagine Cinema
Tibi Tendlu literally means “dirty family secrets”. It is a common phrase in Eswatini that, when spoken out loud, will turn heads, hush a conversation to a whisper, or bring out a sad, knowing smile. Rape, incest, child abuse, and gender-based violence all fall under the tibi tendlu classification that culture and society deem should not be vocalized, as it may dishonor the family and the community. The “dirt” builds up and “binds” a family in a way that is implied to be safe and honorable, but actually becomes an oppressive force, particularly for women and children.
In the patriarchal Kingdom, where women are considered minors and men vastly dominate all spheres of life, gender-based violence has been granted a dauntingly “normal” place within society. The participatory documentary, Tibi Tendu; The Dirt That Binds, is directed by the very communities depicted in the film. These women (and a handful of men), used video cameras to critically explore themselves and their place within the social construct. Determined to be a part of the change they wish to see, many shared their stories for the first time in their lives. They boldly put themselves out to the world with the hope of inspiring others to find their internal strength and sweep the tibi tendlu out of the house.