7-9PG V Feature African
World Premiere African Premiere SA Premiere

Poster-The-Friendship-Bench Poster
Film Poster

In this sensitive documentary, we dive into the origin of a grassroots mental health organisation called The Friendship Bench, which originated in Zimbabwe. We follow Dixon Chibanda, a determined psychiatrist who aims to better a small community and help locals with varying mental health issues. Through honest, raw, and expressive interview sequences, we gain insight into the lives and struggles of people within the community, as well as look into the cultural background of Zimbabwe and its surrounding ideas of mental health. The concept of the ‘bench’ is to provide a safe and non-judgmental environment and aims to destigmatise mental health and promote community-based solutions. The programme’s emphasis on accessibility and community involvement emphasises its significance in bridging gaps in mental health care, reaching individuals in small rural communities who may not otherwise seek help.