C’est la Vie

When a TV show helps fighting violence on women

“C’est la vie” is a Senegalese TV show about daily life in a medical centre in Ratanga, a fictitious neighbourhood in a West African city. The show combats violence against women (forced marriages, female circumcision, rape…) and deals with topics like education, trafficking in fake medicine, AIDS, birth control etc.
The show, created by an NGO, Réseau africain pour l’éducation et la santé (RAES, the African network for education and health) in 2012, looks at most areas of daily life and addresses African women and the issues they have to face every day. The producer, Alexandre Rideau, decided to create the show after he realised that TV had a greater impact on West African urban households than radio. Several themes, such as homosexuality (which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment in Senegal) and abortion (which is also illegal in the country) are still sensitive issues.

Realism is the key word in “C’est la vie” and the four main actresses have been affected by the stories and the characters they play, as they have often had to deal with the same issues in real life. And this would explain the immediate success of the series: C’est la vie is what people are actually dealing with.

C’est la vie is now broadcast in Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso and Chad, and it has a couple of million viewers.

( 2017 )