ARTS The man be­hind 'Muchaneta' drama:

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Review - Sophia Ch­ese-Msowa Arts Cor­re­spon­dent

FOR the past few months, drama lovers across the coun­try have re­gained their trust in the lo­cal tele­vi­sion cour­tesy of the lo­cal dra­mas that have been air­ing on ZBCTV, es­pe­cially “Muchaneta”.

With a crop of tal­ented ac­tors and ac­tresses, the drama has proved to be a dar­ling of most house­holds.

Most peo­ple that had lost in­ter­est in lo­cal tele­vi­sion have been lured back by “Muchaneta” and lead ac­tress of the drama Kes­sia Ma­sona who plays Muchaneta mes­merises view­ers with her stunts.

The con­fi­dence in lo­cal dra­mas that “Muchaneta” brought back seems to have been boosted by the com­ing in of an­other pro­duc­tion ti­tled “Muzita Rababa”.

And there is one man be­hind the two dra­mas, Nick Ze­mura. He is the writer and pro­ducer of the two pro­duc­tions.

This pub­li­ca­tion had a chat with the Amer­ica-based pro­ducer who is cur­rently in the coun­try for the shoot­ing of his dra­mas and he shared the se­cret be­hind the suc­cess of his pro­duc­tions.

“It’s sim­ple, we just need to know the en­vi­ron­ment that we are liv­ing in and to tell you the truth the coun­try is not yet in the mys­tery and science fic­tion era, so there is no point in com­ing up with a science fic­tion film or drama,” he said.

Ze­mura urged pro­duc­ers and writ­ers to know what peo­ple want and de­liver to them.

“Peo­ple want some­thing they can re­late to. Give them what is hap­pen­ing in their so­ci­eties. In Harare for in­stance, it does not mat­ter whether they are from low or high den­sity sub­urbs be­cause most of those in the low den­sity to­day grew up in the high den­sity neigh­bour­hood,” he said.

“I al­ways laugh when I hear the weather re­port where the Me­te­o­rologi- cal Depart­ment tells peo­ple the weather in Dubai.

``I al­ways ask, what is the point of telling peo­ple that be­cause those few peo­ple in the coun­try who travel to places like Dubai have phones that can give them the weather pat­tern of any par­tic­u­lar coun­try they want to travel? Give peo­ple some­thing they can re­late to.”

On se­lect­ing his cast, Ze­mura said he mostly do what is known as type­cast­ing which in­volves get­ting peo­ple that have habits sim­i­lar to their roles.

“That is what I did with `Muchaneta’. Look at Kes­sia who plays Muchaneta, nat­u­rally she is loud and that is what I wanted on that role. Sokostina who plays Tam­budzai Josphat’s sis­ter is a per­son who re­acts well to sit­u­a­tions mak­ing her the suit­able char­ac­ter for that role.

``I did the same with Mar­wei while Bhau­reni comes from a the­atre back­ground so he was good for that role again.

“It was only on Josphat that I did not do type cast­ing, I just un­der­stood how good he was and let me say he is a bril­liant ac­tor,” he said.

On “Muzita Rababa” which has a cast that com­prises mostly of prom­i­nent peo­ple in­clud­ing mu­si­cians and vet­eran ac­tors, Ze­mura said he wrote the drama af­ter hav­ing vis­ited a num­ber of lo­cal churches and learnt a lot from their ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Some churches are do­ing good but what I dis­cov­ered when I vis­ited dif­fer­ent churches is that in most cases those churches that are mal­func­tion­ing are a re­sult of the con­gre­gants who start giv­ing the lead­ers names like `Man of God’ when the ti­tle does not suit them.

He said he dis­cov­ered that mu­si­cians also have act­ing tal­ent hence in­clud­ing them on the project.

“I watched Jah Prayzah and Am­mara’s video `Kure-Kure’ and I just saw that the two were good ac­tors nat­u­rally and I ap­proached them for the drama in which they both agreed but Jah Prayzah hap­pened to be busy when the drama was due for shoot­ing and that is when I opted for Mudi­wa­hood who just proved to be per­fect for the role of Ja­cob with his nat­u­ral swag char­ac­ter,’’ he said.

Ze­mura said both the dra­mas will be show­ing on ZBCTV through­out 2017 and high­lighted that an­other one will première this year.

The film­maker said he had pas­sion for film since he was young.

He started writ­ing and per­form­ing while he was a stu­dent in Mure­hwa, at Gum­ban­jera Pri­mary School.

His pas­sion for film grew when he was at col­lege and in the 1990s he ap­proached sev­eral peo­ple in film and the­atre in an at­tempt to join the in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­ally.

`’At that time, I think the in­dus­try was so closed that it was im­pos­si­ble to break in,” he said.

He later worked with Mure­hwa The­atre Works but his dream of break­ing onto the main­stream in­dus­try could not be re­alised then.

`’It was dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to fam­ily mem­bers that this busi­ness was what I liked to do, al­though they were very sup­port­ive of my art, there was that voice of rea­son that said you must have plan A. So act­ing, writ­ing, film-mak­ing, all forms of art be­came plan B.

“I kept push­ing for the suc­cess of my plan B and to­day I am happy to be recog­nised as a film­maker.”

Nick Ze­mura

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