Remembering Du Chisiza

 

I met my father when I was 14. I stayed with him for 15 months only before his passing. But as he always said back then; The journey continues,” said Thlupego Chisiza.

This was at HS Winehouse in Namiwawa, last Friday evening when Thlupego and his Lions Theatre staged What Lies Ahead, which he had specially written and directed as a special tribute to his deceased father Du Chisiza Junior.

The play, which is a satirical piece about youth and politics, is set in a church where older members cling to positions of power despite their age being a challenge to effective leadership.

Chisiza (R) caught in action

In the play, a character called Bishop Nthumbwana, who was the church’s leader, accused his subjects of being traitors and working to get his position.

“When are we as the youth going to take up the challenge of leadership? They keep saying we will one day take over and that we are leaders of tomorrow. When will that be?” queried a character called Ngozo.

The play had cryptic messages on the importance of including the youth in decision-making positions.

The six-member cast blended English and Chichewa throughout, portraying issues of gossip, nepotism, betrayal, leadership and love.

At the end of the play, the hugely youthful audience gave the cast a huge applause, indicating that the play had resonated with them.

Speaking after the play, seasoned actor Mphundu Mjumira said the event was a special celebration of the late Du Chisiza Junior whose theatrical contribution to the country was remarkable.

“He was a special actor and playwright, the type that we still miss today,” he said.

Mjumira added that the play was a befitting tribute as it gave the audience food for thought as to what it all meant.

“This production we have watched this evening leaves us with questions such as; what are we doing as the youth to contribute to the wellbeing of our country,” he said.

One of HS WineHouse managers Nkhwachi Mhango said theatre is a powerful medium as it can deliver an impactful message to audiences.

“The beauty of theatre is that it does not spoon-feed audiences. Everyone will have to make their own interpretation,” he said.

Speaking after the show, Chisiza said he would have loved to redo one of his father’s productions, but he is not allowed to.

“Plays done by my father would have been more appealing to those who were there during his time. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to. But whatever the case, I will carry forward with his legacy,” said Chisiza, who said he was happy with the turnout.

The cast comprised Chisiza as Uncle Du, Robert Magaza as Ngozo, Tendai Skenda as Wema, Alison Mpunga as Bishop Nthumbwana and Chinsinsi Stonken Banda as Gwangwa.

Dunduzu Chisiza Junior was a playwright and director of Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre. He wrote and directed more than 20 plays. He was born on March 26 1963 and died on February 24 1999.

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