Nyamakuta – The One who Receives


A traditional midwife in Zimbabwe learning new skills.



Mai Mafuta is a ‘nyamakuta’ – a traditional midwife – in Zimbabwe. She has delivered over 200 babies in her village without the aid of modern drugs. Five years ago her skills were called into question when her own daughter died in childbirth. Following this death, Mai Mafuta embarked on a training course, and this video follows her progress as she tries to reconcile what she learns at the local clinic with the traditional Shona birth practices her grandmother taught her. With Mai Mafuta as the narrator of her own story, this documentary has a rare immediacy as it explores traditional and modern approaches to childbirth.
Made in 1989 this film reflects the cultural attitudes and language of the time it was made. But the issues raised are timeless