A Life of Ruins For Women In The DRC

Kat Whoriskey and Lynn Nottage traveled to Uganda near the war-torn country of the Democratic Republic of Congo with one goal in mind: spread awareness of “the violence that generated very little media attention,” as stated in the Prologue. They truly met this goal to say the least.

A weapon is a tool of destruction, and in the case of the DRC, those weapons are guns that lead to the destruction of almost every aspect of life for the people of the Congo. While reading this play, I took that lens and applied it elsewhere. I asked myself what other things within the play are used as a tool or weapon for something. And I noticed one consistent theme throughout the play: men using their power over women to ruin them, hence the play’s title. Men use their gender as a tool to overpower women, just like the people of the DRC, like Commander Osembenga and his men have used weapons as tools to start a war of destruction. 

The idea presented above was a theme that we, as a group, more specifically, Mya, Lorina, and I, discussed a good amount and something that I kept in mind and applied to the book to understand it from a different point of view. We see people like Sophie in Ruined, who have their life ruined by a man, and how that continued to affect her whole life. She was ousted from her village because of something a man did to her. 

Furthermore, it was very thought provoking how Mama Nadi, in a way, perpetuates the male fantasy of sexual action, but only because she has to for survival. She has a business where men can participate in sexual activities for a fee. She uses this as her source of income, but only because she has to. Overall, I think Ruined is a great play that you should check out if you have the time.

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