Zimbabwe: Bulawayo female playwright to have her work showcased at HIFA

By Jeffrey Muvundusi – Bulawayo: Upcoming female playwright from Bulawayo Nonhlalo Dube who continues to make positive strides in the theatrical scene will for the first time have her new play showcased at the upcoming Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) that has been penciled for next month.

The 25 year old Dube will see her work, which is her second one titled It Never Rains being premiered at the internationally acclaimed arts fiesta after her debut piece, a television drama series became a success.

The 13 episode drama called Yeyeni Bantu directed by Styx Mhlanga which was screened on ZBC TV between July and August each Thursday last year became a never to miss affair to most of those who closely followed it.

But it is her latest production that seeks to prove that as a female writer she has what it takes to navigate her way up in the city where the likes of Raisedon Baya, Chris Mlalazi and the Mhlanga brothers have always enjoyed much space.

The play, It Never Rains is the only theater product from Bulawayo that was chosen following a one week HIFA Direct workshop for playwrights and directors that was recently held in the capital.

Thembi Moyo who was also part of the training workshop directs the play. The HIFA Direct is a training workshop where artists were required to submit scripts and also being taught the skills on writing the scripts and directing all in the name of producing quality theatrical works.

As a result, two plays It Never Rains by Dube and I Have Sinned by Harare based Patrick Miller sailed through ahead of many submissions looked at during the workshop. The former is scheduled to premiere on 4 May and continue the following day of the highly esteemed multi-discipline arts event.

It Never Rains is a play that advocates against the abuse of child headed families in the society, in the process revealing how better placed people takes advantage of such kind of families by sexually abusing them in the name of Good Samaritans.

Dube who is currently a production manager for the upcoming television series, Nyaminyami penned by veteran playwright Cont Mhlanga said she was upbeat about her progress in the apparently male dominated fraternity.

“The going has never been easy but with the support I have been getting from Cont and Styx Mhlanga, I feel I don’t have to disappoint. I am actually over the moon and simply encouraged at the way things have of late been unfolding in my career.

“I had my first product Yeyeni Bantu accepted ahead of many other equally good products by ZBC, now my play is at HIFA while at the same time I was honoured to be a production manager of the upcoming television series Nyaminyami,” said the playwright who is also a
gifted actress.

Styx Mhlanga one of Zimbabwe’s seasoned artists who has participated in several internationally acclaimed event told the Daily News, said he was delighted at young talents that are emerging from Bulawayo.

“This is what when we sit down one day and look back at what we have produced over years as mentors and be proud of,” he said.

Dube who is a product of Cont ka Mhlanga’s Amakhosi Academy is one of the many students from the learning institution who have shown amazing talent in various sectors of the arts fraternity.

Besides writing scripts, she is also a talented dancer attached to Amakhosi Dance group. On Mother Courage, a play by Styx Mhlanga which was showcased at Elite 400 theater center in the city last year, Dube played the role of Catherine, a deaf and only daughter of the rich business woman, Mother Courage.

However, the versatile artist urged women in the industry to do away with the inferiority complex in their thinking citing that the move it grossly work against their rise in arts.

“As women we must fight the stigma of looking down upon ourselves as that is what has made us lag behind arts wise. Each one of us must understand that there is no preserve for men in the arts sector. Let’s rise and claim a stake in a variety of art disciplines,” she said.