MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
IN an industry were training opportunities are rare for both screen and stage actors, some of the Zambian actors appearing on DStv’s
Zambezi Magic have been nothing but an embarrassment; but not Jemimah Burton Phiri.
Sometimes, it helps that those going on screen come with a bit of experience from the stage, that way at least, they will know a few rudiments of the trade.
But in taking up the main role in the local television series Njila: The Phase,” which shows on Zambezi Magic, Jemimah went with none.
For those that have followed some drama series on Muvi Tv, they may have seen her impressive acting skills on Pa Mudadada and Lake Hill.
Jemimah’s background is in journalism having trained in Nairobi, Kenya after completion of her secondary school in that country. The last born in the family of eight, she never fancied a career in film until a friend who was already in the business encouraged her to give it a try.
“I never knew that I would become an actress until a friend of mine operating from the same industry asked me if I could give it a try back in 2014,” says Jemimah who also hosted a healthy show on Metro FM Radio.
“Apparently, am a shy person and I thought it was not my thing, but when I gave it a try, I played one of the main characters in ‘Pa Mudadada’ on Muvi Tv and then I was given another role in a Muvi Tv production called Lake Hill and since then, I have been an actress.”
But acting in Njila was the main defining moment; she will never forget the moment she received the call to star as the main character.
“I was one of the people doing a production for Zambezi Magic, and when I was given the opportunity to play the main role in Njila, I was so excited, because to me, featuring in a film that would be televised internationally is a big thing,” she says.
In Njila: The Phase, Jemimah plays the role of Jane, the first child of the two siblings who struggles to survive with her brother (Nicholas Raymond Banda) when their caregiver (Isaac Kalumba) abandons them after taking away the wealth left behind by their parents.
“This film is remarkable; it really brings out what really happens in real life. Jane and her brother came from a wealthy home and only came to know poverty after their parent’s death,” Jemimah says.
“The role of Jane in the film is that of a helpless girl who ends up living in a ramshackle with her brother after everything was taken away from them. However the film shows how Jane does everything in her power to take back what belongs to the two siblings. Her brother goes wayward and resorts to abusing drugs and alcohol among other things.”
Season one of the TV series, which is produced by Brian Nanga with Brian Mpalale as the assistant producer, ended last year before season two came on air again recently.