African women tell of rugged past

Common cause: Aminata Conteh-Biger (centre) with Tariro Mavondo (left) and Effie Nkrumah. Picture: Lisa Tomasetti

Common cause: Aminata Conteh-Biger (centre) with Tariro Mavondo (left) and Effie Nkrumah. Picture: Lisa Tomasetti

WHEN she was 18 Aminata Conteh-Biger was kidnapped by rebels and starved until negotiations with Sierra Leone's government set her free — provided she read a letter on television listing her captors' demands.

Today, the 34-year-old former refugee has a daughter Serafine, two years, and a son Matisse, one, and lives at Beverly Hills, having previously lived at Penshurst.

She said she was able to reconcile her past in Africa with her current life in St George by not taking on a victim status, and keeping her "positivity".

Although she still sometimes experiences flashbacks she became one of a collection of women including Tariro Mavondo and Effie Nkrumah to share their stories at Riverside Theatres as part of The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe.

"I came here because I was kidnapped in war in 1999 and held for months in Freetown by rebels from the Revolutionary United Front," she said.

Despite her past, the special representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees hopes she can help other victims of violence.

The production will go to England then Sydney's Opera House.

The presentation will be at the Riverside Theatres on February 18, 20, and 21.

Details: riversidetheatres.com.au.

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