Afghan Sesame Street gets new muppet

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Afghan puppeteers Seema Sultani (in black), holding new Sesame Street muppet Zeerak, and Mansoora Shirzad, holding the muppet Zari, at a recording in Kabul on Sunday. Zeerak is the latest character in the Afghan version of Sesame Street, known as Baghch-e-Simsim. Producers hope the four-year-old boy, dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez and a waistcoast embroidered in Afghan national colours, will inspire millions of children - and their parents - to see the value of education. Zari, Zeerak's big sister, has been a success since she was introduced last year to show that a woman's place is beyond the home. Mr Massood Sanjer, head of Tolo TV which airs the show, believes introducing a boy who adores and wants to emulate his school-going, older sibling, will also "indirectly teach the kids to love their sisters" in a conservative, gender- segregated nation, which traditionally has invested more in its sons.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Afghan Sesame Street gets new muppet'. Print Edition | Subscribe