HomeStandard StyleTravelling & touring: Hwange's Vulindlela 'exports' ungwavhangwavha to the airwaves!

Travelling & touring: Hwange’s Vulindlela ‘exports’ ungwavhangwavha to the airwaves!

By Burzil Dube

DESERTION of hotels and lodges due to rapid resurgence of ‘Covid-19 is now the order of the day in some of our neighbouring countries as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc within the tourism industry.

This was supposed to be the major highlight of this week’s travelling and touring column as Yours Truly seeks to complement efforts to curb the spread of this pandemic from the motherland.

However, this week’ gist is a different ball game altogether  as we briefly peek  into the entertainment industry which in most cases acts as feeder to the tourism sector.

Yours Truly has in the past highlighted how the  town of Hwange is widely known for coal mining and processing of this precious fossil which might slide into oblivion within the next decade if clarion calls by climate change lobbyists to ban its use is anything to go by.

The town is also popularly known for being home to both Tonga and Nambya ethnic tribes dating back to several centuries ago. However, this time around it is playing a pivotal role in theatre production and performing arts courtesy of Nelson Mapako whose tutelage is second to none.

The Hwange born and bred Mapako who joined theatre industry by coincidence, has brought the trending “Kungwavhangwavha” street lingo on the fore in this coal mining town through theatre performance and production.

The play also entitled “Kungwavhangwavha” is set to be aired in the country’s local radio stations early next year and the cast is composed of tried and tested Hwange artistes that have seen it all on stage performance.

Yours Truly was recently part of the audience that watched a recent play premiered by Vulindlela Drama Group and I am still lost for superlatives. The  play mainly dwelt on life in mining communities.

The play was directed by Mapako, who is also into music industry and has shown his playwriting skills in neighbouring countries.

While researching on the impact of Covid-19 viz a viz the festive season, Yours Truly ‘bumped’ into one Marvelous Neshavi, a songbird as well as member of Vulindlela group who mentioned in passing that they were working on a play to be featured on radio.

Thàt is how Mapako’s name came about as him and Michael Kanyika were the brains behind “Kungwavhangwavha” radio production.

However, more of Mapako’s playwright works in future instalments as Yours Truly unpacks this jack of various artistic trades.

Kanyika is the artistic director of Vulindlela Drama Group whose input has also played a major role in shaping this particular play, which is a mixture of Nambya, Nyanja, Ndebele and Shona.

Kungwavhangwavha is a popular colloquial street lingo translated loosely to mean business hustling.

The play is based on a family of four whose way of living is full of challenges as well as uncertainties on what the future holds for them.

The challenges and benefits of such a lifestyle is laid bare as issues of infidelity, importance of education for the girl child, conduct at workplaces, drug abuse and corruption among others.

The series is pregnant with real life issues where individuals try all means necessary to eke a living during these challenging economic times.

The cast is composed of Gebhuza played by Lawrence Nyendwa, Tambulani (Mildred Nkomo), Tobelani (Tanyala Dennis Luphahla), Zondiwe (Marvelous Shantani Neshavi), Ma Thuli ( Simephina Nyoni), Marufu (Bornface Siduli), Mayilo (Ignatious Phiri), Jululu(Siphiwe Mathe), Bhajila (Prince Welshman Sibanda) and Mr Banda featuring Michael Kanyika.

In the cast, Gebhuza who is a father and employed by Malasha Coalfields Limited is failing to make   ends meet due to his meagre salary.

As part of efforts to supplement his income, Gebhuza resorts to stealing various company items such as fuel, copper wire, coke, and transformer oil among others.

His shenanigans are well ‘covered’ by an equally corrupt Marufu a company security officer who always demands bribes from Gebhuza and the wife, Tambulani.

Tambulani is a hustler, who is into cross border trading where she is into buying and selling of wares especially banned substances such as alcohol, skin lightening products, drugs (mbanje) among others.

Her philandering antics result on cheating with truck drivers who are always handy in smuggling and transportation of her stuff. She is a leading member of a fundraising club and occupies a senior position in charge of finance even though is of dubious disposition in terms of financial transactions.

Jululu a personal friend of Tambulani, is a double-tongued woman and is always abreast on latest township tidings and is a widow while Michael Kanyika who plays Mr Banda is that type of a head teacher striving for good performance among his students.

It is not only coal that comes from Hwange and Yours Truly cannot wait for the play to hit the airwaves as it has interesting lessons on Kungwavhangwavha.

Till we meet again in the next column.

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