Ethio-American Antu Yacob, Shines Light On Child Marriage
Mourning Sun, a new play by Antu Yacob slated for production by Theatre 167, sheds light on brutal traditions impacting girls and women across the world. Set in Ethiopia and New York, this remarkable love story spans continents and cultures while exploring the way our lives are our lives are shaped by trauma and recovery, dislocation and identity, and the power of human connection.
At 14, Biftu and Abdi listen to American pop music and fantasize about meeting Michael Jackson. Then Biftu is forced into an arranged marriage and her dreams and her body are shattered. Mourning Sun asks how we can recover from the unthinkable, and how we can help to heal the people we love.
Child marriage impacts 15 million girls a year—more than 28 girls a minute are forced into marriage before the age of 18. Often these girls are as young as 9 or 10, with bodies utterly unequipped to bear children. They become pregnant and often lose the babies and develop complications, including preventable fistulas which consign them to live as outcasts, abandoned by their husbands and exiled by their culture.
Playwright Yacob grew up in Ethiopia and then the United States. After her sister, a medical student, volunteered at the fistula clinic in Addis Ababa, Ms. Yacob began researching stories of child marriage. Mourning Sun came out of her desire to tell these stories and to transform her culture. “I realized if I didn’t have the mother I had, I could have been one of those girls,” the playwright says, “I wanted their voices to be heard. That’s why I wrote Mourning Sun.”