Those who have had the privilege to watch the local film Fatsani have surely taken note of one character, Nambewe.
Despite not being one of the leading characters, she stands head and shoulders above many in the storyline. Nambewe is a local girl who makes ends meet by selling mandasi (fritters) at the local market.
Through her experience in the business, she takes Fatsani, a rookie in the trade, under her wraps and shows her how to withstand the heat and pressure that comes with operating a business in a hostile environment.
Nambewe is played by Uthandiwe Chidambo. By any manner, the 25-year-old fits perfectly in her role. Her resolute nature, her motherly instincts and her mannerisms as she goes about her role makes it look easy and natural.
“I had to read the script to understand my role. I worked on my character to bring the best out of me. I had time to reflect on my role. After that I had to apply effort and energy on it,” the actress told On The Arts in an interview last Friday.
But who is Chidambo and how did she find herself in acting?
She said her mother told her that she started acting when she was five years old. But according to her recollection, her acting journey took off while in Form One at Namitete Secondary School in Lilongwe when she joined the school’s drama club.
Chidambo said: “It was during this time when our patron approached me and said he saw traits of an actress in me. She gave me a role just to see how I could perform. That gave me confidence and the rest is history.”
After her secondary school acting exploits, Chidambo joined Theatre For Change Malawi as a radio drama performer. So far, her acting journey has taken her through theatre groups such as Maroots Arts Theatre, Chikwatu Arts Theatre and High Arts Theatre.
Apart from Fatsani, the Lilongwe-based actress has also starred in productions such as Christmas Dress, So Long a Smile, Virginity Policy, Atsikana, Tears, A Home Is A Place Like This, Chenje and television adverts by different corporate entities, including National Bank of Malawi plc.
The actress says she has a lot of admiration for seasoned actress-cum-film producer Joyce Mhango-Chavula from whom she draws a lot of inspiration. Ironically, the two starred together in the film Fatsani, an HD Plus production.
Recently, Chidambo joined the Malawi Police Service and is now a Police constable at Kawale Police in Lilongwe.
She says her new preoccupation will not dissuade her from her number one passion, acting.
“Acting is a talent I was born with. I cannot quit acting just because I have joined the Malawi Police Service. I will do all my best to manage my time so that both my work and acting should not be affected in any way,” she said.
Fatsani director and producer Gift ‘Sukez’ Sukali said as someone who has worked with Chidambo on a couple projects, he has belief that she can make it on the international stage.
He said: “She has huge potential. When she is going about her work she shows that she knows what she is doing. She always sets her sights on the quality of her output. That separates her from ordinary actors.”