KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
AFTER winning two awards at the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) senior festival last month, Bantu Theatre walked away with the Best Script and Leading Actress Awards but was somewhat dejected.
â€œIâ€™m happy the festival is over but too sad that we invest more than we get back. Is a shield and certificate going to motivate me to participate next? We won money at provincial, and at national, only trophies. Putting value on the artist indeed,â€ Francis Malunga, who directed Bantu Theatreâ€™s play The Pastor and the Prostitute at the festival, said.
Not too sure whether it was a tongue-in-cheek statement, but it raised some debate on the NATAAZ Facebook page with association chairman Boyd Chibale Kaimbi saying it makes sad reading when value of achievement is measured by how much money one gets for an award.
â€œHonour is not measured by how much you receive for your good work but by what results your good works have produced. A trophy and certificate forms part of your achievement which you can show and brag about, which in turn can bring you money and add value to your honour,â€ he said.
Well, he could not have been more right.
Veteran playwright and director Samuel Kasankha, who was one of the judges at the NATAAZ festival, has just managed to secure a slot for Bantu Theatre to perform at the Theatre in the Park, one of the leading theatre venues in Zimbabwe, situated at Harare Gardens next to the National Art Gallery ofÂ Zimbabwe and run by Rooftop Promotions.
â€œLeo Dauty Simukoko, Francis Malunga and Maureen Banda, dash to the passport office! I have secured you a deal to perform your â€˜The Pastor and the Harlotâ€™ at the Theatre in the Park in Harare, Zimbabwe.
â€œYou will be paid for your script, a performance fee and a daily allowance. If you impress during your 12 days in Harare, you could secure yourselves a national tour of Zimbabwe! If you get excited and want to know what this means, ask people who have previously done this routine,â€ Kasankha, who has performed at the Park with his group Mthangatambeta Arts and Promotions, wrote on the NATAAZ page on Facebook.
As the title suggests, The Pastor and the Prostitute, co-written by Leo Simukoko and Francis Malunga, is a minimalist drama revolving around a preacher man who finds himself entangled with a member of the oldest profession. The play features Maureen Banda, who won the Best Leading Actress at the NATAAZ festival.
It seems certificates work after all.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka