Wakhumbata return Feb 25

Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre (WET) is gearing to return on stage with a show in memory of its founding father Du Chisiza Jnr, who died in 1999.

The group has been in hibernation since the late Gertrude Kamkwatira’s takeover was frozen by the Chisiza’s resolution to give the mantle to Khumbo Bazuka Mhango.

In an interview, both Mhango and Du’s mother Towera Chumbu Chisiza insisted the group was not on its last legs and were optimistic it will bounce back next year.

The mother said she could not imagine Wakhumbata vanishing while she is still alive.

“It won’t get to that. Wakhumbata is still here, not gone. For me, my son’s theatrical journey continues and the group will get back on stage sooner than later,” explained the woman, who entrusted the group to Mhango.

She says WET is a family outfit that nobody can take away from her chosen heir.

In an interview, Mhango said the group will stage a tribute play on February 25, the day their founder died.

“We are still consulting old and new members on which play to restage during the memorial show, but it seems many want Bare Foot in the Heart,” said the leader who is often blamed for WET’s fall from grace.

He argued that drama is competing with mushrooming entertainment and sports events despite being stifled by soaring cost of venues and advertising.

“Unlike in Du’s era, the cost of holding a show has gone up tremendously. Then, leisure activities were scarce; it was theatre and football. But now there are lots of shows every weekend and the audience is the same that patronise drama,” he explained.

Mhango also claimed that his People’s Party (PP) executive position will not affect his showing and ideals as a dramatist and Wakhumbata in general. He declared that before politics, there was an artist who still calls the shots in his gut.

“There is no conflict of interest. Theatre is in me and I will die an artist. I have  been speaking for the people for years and politics is just another way of accomplishing the calling,” he reasoned.

Wakhumbata was the nickname of the mother of Chisiza’s father. She reportedly had 11 children and all of them died except Dunduzu snr, Yatuta and Nyapachuma. She adopted the name to echo her plight.

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