Yellow Card : a movie created to address issues of teen pregnancy and safe sex, debuted in April 2000. Produced in Zimbabwe by Media for Development Trust, the movie uses the theme of sport in an effort to arm young men, in particular, with knowledge and awareness that might help them avoid AIDS and teen pregnancy.
Yellow Card takes teen pregnancy, which is often thought of as a girl’s problem, and explores what happens when a boy is held accountable for his actions. Director John Riber sought to make the point that there are “no prescriptions” to matters of sex: “The film does not lecture young kids, rather we are just trying to give them something to think about, to provoke discussion and debate”. As one of Yellow Card’s key researchers, the late Beavan Mutsakani said: “Don’t tell them what to do, provoke them into finding answers for themselves.” Yellow Card directly confronts young males about the impact of sex and sexuality. The film specifically “promotes young male involvement” in these issues.
Yellow Card is a light, comic story that avoids lecturing youth by using the image of “a young guy playing football with a baby on his back”. The theme of sport is used as a tool for engaging young men (a yellow card it is the warning card given before you are sent off the field and out of the game). The movie centres around the story of Tiyane Tsumba, a young soccer star who becomes a teenage father, to tackle the issues of unplanned pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and HIV/AIDS. While addressing these serious topics, the movie uses comic relief, popular music, and a strong story line to draw teens’ interest.
In the movie, 17-year-old Tiyane dreams of playing soccer professionally. After he has what he views as a casual sexual encounter with Linda, his classmate, Tiyane meets Juliet, the girl of his dreams. When Linda tells Tiyane she is pregnant, he denies responsibility. Linda then attempts to end the pregnancy, and when that fails, she is expelled from school for being pregnant. With Linda out of the picture, Tiyane’s problems appear to vanish, and he is free to pursue his soccer ambitions and his relationship with Juliet. All goes well for Tiyane until he finds the baby on his doorstep and is finally forced to take responsibility for his actions, which means sacrificing his relationship with Juliet and possibly his soccer career.
Traveling road shows bring the movie to rural, hard-to-reach locations. Trained facilitators travel with the road shows, teaching leaders at schools, churches, and youth clubs to use a Yellow Card support video and manual (available in 12 African languages) to guide adolescents through discussions about the movie’s themes, including relationships, sex, AIDS, responsibility, communication, and life goals.
Growing beyond the original movie, Yellow Card’s characters, music, and messages have spread to an array of media popular among young people. The film’s official website allows teens to learn more about the film’s stars, to provide feedback to the filmmakers, and to post messages on the Yellow Card discussion board. A Yellow Card music video was aired on Channel O, a South African teen music show that is broadcast across Africa. Additionally a 19-minute trailer and “making of” video for the film is available on the internet – click here.