Theatre

Graig, Augustine Lungu remembered

AUGUSTINE Lungu (in the baseball cap) and Benne Banda performing the Shay Linehan-written play, Headers and Footers, at the Edinburg Festival, one of the world’s largest arts festivals.

KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
TWO names that have contributed immensely to the contribution of television drama and stage theatre, Graig and Augustine Lungu, will today be remembered with a memorial service to be held at

Lusaka Playhouse.
The memorial service though is just one part, afterwards, there will be a procession to Kabwata constituency led by area member of Parliament Given Lubinda, a former member of Tikwiza Theatre, who will honour the two with streets named after them.
This is the second time that Lubinda, patron of the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ), is naming a street after an artiste in his constituency. The first was musician Joe “The Ambassador” Chibangu, who had the three-kilometre road that connects Shantumbu and Apex road named after him following his death in April this year.
Ironically, there were more actors at the naming of the Joe Chibangu road than musicians. Now, however, the focus is squarely on two actors who indeed left an indelible mark on acting.
“You’re all invited to the memorial service of our departed gallant actors Graig and Augustine Lungu to be held at the Lusaka Playhouse on Saturday 24.06.17 at 08:45; after the service, we will proceed to Kabwata constituency led by the Hon Given Lubinda MP to honour our brothers with two streets named after them,” a statement by Lusaka Playhouse board chairman and NATAAZ general Secretary Henry B.J Phiri reads.
“Artists and friends will go back to the Playhouse to celebrate the lives of the two heroes in a mingling gala hosted by the Sakala Brothers with a display of all art forms.”
It is only fitting that Augustine be given an artistic send-off at the Lusaka Playhouse albeit coming seven years after his death. Of course it will not be anything he commanded at his burial.
When he died, he went against convention by refusing the traditional artistic send-off through the Lusaka Playhouse, a stage he graced with distinction. The reason had to do with Lusaka Playhouse politics.
Still, he attracted a crowd which, no offence intended, would be the envy of politicians during public rallies in an election year.
The crowd that thronged the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka was so huge that the grounds failed to contain it. It was not the end; the crowd that went straight to the Mutumbi Cemetery from his Chelston home was equally big. Even more, almost half the crowd that was at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, equally failed to make it to the cemetery because of lack of transport.
Despite bus-loads making several trips to the cemetery, they simply failed to manage to ferry everyone.
A television presenter as well, Augustine started rising just before his cousin Graig Lungu died towards the mid-90s. Augustine had distinguished himself as a promising artiste at Kabulonga Boys Secondary School alongside the likes of Maiko Zulu and Daddy Zemus.
On the other hand, Graig Lungu together with his wife Jane Lungu, Danny “Sauzande” Kanengoki, Chanda “Maximo” Mwale, Elijah Daka and Brighton Banda among others, had become household names, thanks to the Play Circle and its forerunner Play for Today, which used to appear on ZNBC.
Together, they put the name of ZANASE on the map.
Yes, only two of them will be honoured today, but the list of those deserving the same is indeed long, it includes those who have died and those alive but not probably active.
On the list, you may include the likes of Haggai Chisulo, Kabwe Kasoma, Professor Mapopa Mtonga, Mumba Kapumpa, Manda Mwila, Masautso Phiri, Kwalayela Ikafa, Matildah Malamfumu, Professor Dickson Mwansa, Moses John Kwali, Lydia Mhango, Julius Chongo, Samuel Kasankha and Joemwa Msinje Mwale among many others.

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