Friday, November 12, 2010

Election Day

Mlalazi’s debut play opens

There probably could have been no better time than now for award-winning writer Christopher Mlalazi’s play, Election Day, to premiere at Theatre in the Park than now, as the talk of elections next year reaches fever pitch.

First staged at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), the play pulsates with the rich touch of first-time director and two-time Nama best actress Eunice Tava.

Election Day, which opens to the public on November 10, poignantly reflects the agitation people experience around election time, The Zimbo Jam reports.

The play’s cast, made up of talented actors and actresses, includes Privillage Mutendera, Teddy Mangawa, Tafadzwa Bob and Brezhnev Guveya.

According to the play’s brief synopsis, it is election time and His Excellency Poka Oka Ndiseng’s ruling party is losing by a very wide margin in the polls.

His wife, Samantha, and his personal advisor, Twenty, are both panicking and they are urging Ndiseng to flee the country, but an adamant Ndiseng tells them he is not going anywhere and wants to be buried under the soil of his ancestors.

“The intention is not to insult anyone but to just poke fun at election fever in not only Zimbabwe but the whole world,” Tava said.

“Elections have been a very sensitive subject in most countries and as artists we find the various stories about elections in Zimbabwe very interesting and full of drama hence a source for our creative work.”

Rooftop Promotions producer Daves Guzha said they were “on a deliberate drive as an organiasation to provide exposure to Zimbabwe’s emerging talent” in line with their mission.

“Our experience with emerging artists has been fulfilling so we are confident that what we are doing is to ensure posterity in the theatre industry,” Guzha said.

Election Day had its world premiere at HIFA 2010 as part of the Hifa direct theatre mentorship project by Hifa and British Council where it had three sold out shows at the 50-or-so seater Reps Upstairs theatre.

While Tava is not new to theatre, being an experienced actress in her own right, Mlalazi is prominently known as a novel, poetry and short story writer.

Election Day

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dancing with Life and

'amaBooks Publishers have advertised their recent books, including Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township, on The website has 'biblets' of the individual books containing brief information, extracts and online outlets.

Click on the image of the cover of Dancing with Life in the right hand column to have a look.

The picture here is from a reading group at Mzilikazi Library in Bulawayo, who have been discussing the book. One of their most pressing questions was the meaning of the title of the story A Heart in My Hole.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Name Is Dubekile

(First published in the Sunday News in 2009)

My name is Dubekile. I am 9 years old, doing Grade 5. I would like to tell you about my father. My father is an old man with grey hair. He was born in 1978. I saw his date of birth on his ID the other day when I was searching his wallet for R50. He had said he did not have the money, but in the morning I had seen him at the bottle store braaing meat when I was flying kites with my friends. My father was also holding a bottle of beer, and he was laughing with his friends. In the afternoon he came home staggering, took off his trousers in the kitchen and immediately went to sleep in the bedroom. He was wearing an old jogger short underneath. Mother was not home, she had gone in the morning to town where she sells juice cards which she buys for US$1 and sells for 15. When father had gone to sleep, I searched his pockets and took his wallet, which I opened and saw his ID, but he had no money, but only a condom inside. That is when I saw his ID. 1978. I needed the R50 because the headmaster said if anybody who does not have it must not come to school on Monday. The money is not for school fees. It is for paying our teachers salaries. The headmaster says we must pay their salaries now since the government does not want to pay them. I want to pay my teacher because he educates me, but my father does not want to. He says it is not his duty, he says he is not the one who is employing the teachers. He also says when he was at school there was no such thing as paying teachers education was for free and why this nonsense now. Sometimes I do not like my father. He is making us suffer. Sometimes we go the whole day without eating anything at home, but if you go the bottle store, there you find him drinking beer with his friends. And they will be laughing too. I do not remember the last time I laughed, not because I do not like laughing, but because I have no reason to laugh, what with this hunger and anger that fills my heart everyday. Yes I am also angry. And I am also scared too, because my anger sometimes just comes without any provocation. Father is angry too. He is always shouting at me and mother, and when he is drunk it is even worse, because he sometimes beats me. He is always saying ‘do you think money grows on trees?’ The other day when he said that, just after he had also insulted mother for not cooking for him when there was not even any food in the house to cook, I asked him wena mdala do you think money grows at the bottle store? and that is when he said I must go away from his house, and then he went to sleep. I did not go away because the house is not his. We are lodgers, and the house belongs to Mr Skhulu, who works for the city council. Mr Skhulu has another house in Nkulumane, and another in Pumula South. Anyway, it was in the afternoon, and I knew that in the late afternoon when father woke up, he would be sober and sorry looking and he would be pretending that nothing happened, and life will go on as usual. Sometimes I pity him. My father. Deep down I know that he is a harmless old man born in 1978 who is only confused by always being broke. Mother the other day told him that they must go together to town together because she knows a man who burn DVD’s and sells them eGodini terminus who is looking for an assistant, and father said if mother is having an affair with this man, he is going to ‘burn’ her also and sell her for a scud, then off he went to the bottle store, carrying an empty bottle of beer. Later I saw him laughing and carrying a quart at the braai stand. This man amazes me sometimes. How can somebody who is failing to pay the R50 for my education refuse employment when he is offered one? And the money for the beer. How come he can afford it when at home he is a total failure financially? Sometimes I wonder, is there something that he is doing that mother and me are not aware of? Or maybe uyaloya and he can make money but that money is only for buying beer and braai and if he used it for something else, it would disappear? But still, I will continue searching his wallet when he comes in drunk, maybe I can get the R50 my teacher wants…

Friday, March 19, 2010

I met a cat in Harare. I was staying in a back packers lodge, and as usual when I am travelling, I always make sure I wake up early, around 5.00a.m, and put in an hour or two - or three - of writing before I go about my business. So there I am, coming from breakfast at 8, and I find this cat which seemed to be appreciating a sculpture, and who wouldn't hesitate to take a picture of such a fanstastic morning sight?

Workshoping Election Day

As most friends and followers of this blog know, I had originally intended this blog to be solely a poetry blog, but careful consideration of my poetry output, and the time gap between posts, has made me change my mind. I am now going to make this a general blog, a space where I let all my creative juices flow. And for a start, I have posted a pciture from the Harare International Festival Of The Arts 2010 - Direct workshop of my play ELECTION DAY, which I am proud to say is going to open in this year's HIFA. In the picture are two actors (apologies I have forgotten their names) and Eunice Tava in the white cape, whos is going to direct the play. I am happy also that a woman is going to direct this play. Previously all my plays have been directed by men, and I know from the workshop that having Eunice is going to introduce a new perspective to the vision. As most of you already know, the play ELECTION DAY is an adaption of my much published short story of the same name. Much has changed in the play, but the main story line remains still the same (vote rigging). I will keep you posted on the play, the perfomance dates, the actors etc.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Peace Deal Part 2 (Jan 2009)

Still we wait
For the power sharing agreement
That still eludes our nation
As the powers that be still bicker
Over who shall have the power
To our national resources
As cholera decimates
Hunger has a field day
And our dollar limps from the Reserve Bank
Headed for the the refuse dump