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‘Bwabwalala’ raises critical matters

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An impressive audience on Sunday patronised the premiere of a political satire Bwabwalala scripted by renowned Nation Publications Limited journalist Suzgo Chitete and directed by veteran actor Jeremiah Mwaungulu at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe.

The performance by the cast, which included Chitete, won the hearts of people.

To many, the exploits by Waz Arts in the political satire that unpacks several ills affecting society including corruption reminded them of the good old days of Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre (Wet) led by theatre maestro Du Chisiza Jr and theatre darling Gertrude Webster Kamkwatira.

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Du and Gertrude passionately used theatre to tackle issues and in several of the plays they, created, they fought, and spoke for the voiceless.

From the word go, Chitete and, the entire cast displayed admirable acting skills that kept people glued to the stage and the production painted a picture of the hard life that people are living.

There is, however, room for improvement; a few bolts that need tightening.

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The last time Chitete was on stage was in 2010 when he performed alongside Rising Choreos when they invited Desmond Elliot from Nigeria but his 12-year break showed no signs of rustiness and he performed to perfection alongside Mwaungulu and others.

The play delves into a family saga with a focus on two brothers played by Chitete and Mwaungulu – pursuing common interest yet with selfish reasons. They have not been close before but until an opportunity presents itself, they find a reason to forge an alliance.

In their corrupt undertakings, which see them using different networks of other people, they end up siphoning money and obtaining papers for properties from a widow, who had lost her husband.

The climax is even more interesting when the woman stands up to fight.

Chitete said it has been a long wait but always had hope that one day he would be back on stage.

“What inspired the play is that I just remembered the days of Gertrude Kamkwatira and Wanna Do Ensemble Theatre, even Wakhumbata, where, if there were so many issues, artists provided their own commentary on how they see issues and, with what is happening, we needed to give an artistic face,” he said.

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma, who was one of the high profile people who patronised the premiere, said she fully enjoyed the production.

“It has been a very lovely afternoon; we missed stage plays and this is the first time I have been to a stage play after a long time and I really liked the fact that it brought out some topical issues, issues of corruption and gender,” she said.

Chizuma further said she liked the role the women in the cast played, citing a scene where a woman discourages her husband from engaging in corruption.

“What they did here is what our public education unit does and they did it with humour and I think they need to take the play to Mzuzu, Blantyre and other areas so that they can disseminate the message,” she said.

Poet Chigo Gondwe described the play as “amazing, food for soul and food for thought”.

The other members of the cast are Mary Chilongo, Dipo Katimba, Brenda Mselu, Rodgers Siula, Macdonald Sanga and Pleasant Banda.

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