Players in the creative industry continue to mourn veteran dramatist Frank Patani Mwase who died on Friday of Covid-19 at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
Mwase, who until his death was National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) Board Chairperson, was laid to rest on Friday at Misesa Cemetery in Limbe, Blantyre.
Writer Stanley Onjezani Kenani said he was gutted to hear of Mwase’s passing.
“Death has robbed us of a theatre genius. The last time I saw him on stage was in 1998, when he played the role of Dayanga, the old man, in one of Du Chisiza’s final players (Beyond the Barricade? Not sure). Frank made the play come to life. His talent was phenomenal,” wrote Kenani on his Facebook page.
He said Mwase was gone but “we will cling to his memory”.
“The beautiful story of his life he wrote on the theatre stage we will never forget,” Kenani, a former Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president said.
Ashukile Mwakisulu, who is the brains behind Choices soapie, said Mwase has inspired a lot of actors in the country.
“Most of us got inspired to get into art because of great guys like Frank. Thank you Frank for sharing your talent. May your soul rise in power,” Mwakisulu said.
Actress Constance Thyangathyanga described the death of Mwase as heartbreaking.
“He talked about new projects in November; a huge loss to the theatrical community,” Thyangathyanga said.
Actor, playwright and director Ian Chitsekula also described Mwase as a prolific actor who starred with Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre, a drama outfit founded by the late Du Chisiza Jr.
“Honestly, he was a beauty to watch. He featured in most of Wakhumbata productions. You can remember one of his great performances in Pumashakire. He was such an actor who made a difference in Wakhumbata. He inspired most of young artists in the country and patrons loved his style of acting. He loved theatre so much,” Chitsekula said.
Videographer Peter Mazunda recalled that, from 2003 to 2005, while operating under the tagline of Kings Multimedia Production, they were hired to pioneer a television programme known as Pakachere which involved featuring South Africa’s Soul City series and a talk show.
“I, Maneno Mtawali, Jolly Ntaba and our clients wholly agreed to make Frank Mwase the renowned actor as the talk show host. His delivery was on point, interactive, lively and with passion. Three years ago, I and Xtra Solutions crew also helped Frank in producing his business talk show programme called The Grill,” Mazunda said.
He revealed that, few weeks ago, Mwase told him that he wanted them to brainstorm on a movie script he had developed.
“Death has come so soon. That movie might never see the light of the day. Golden talent is gone. The creative industry is losing its cream,” Mazunda mourned.
The late Mwase told The Daily Times on a number of occasions that he was developing a number of scripts to come back to the stage.
Ethno-musician Waliko Makhala, who introduced Mwase to Wakhumbata, on Friday described the death of Mwase as a cultural tragedy and that the creative industry has lost a genius and talented artist.
“I introduced Frank Patani Mwase to Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre. He was almost a brother and I am devastated by his death. He was talented, his voice was unique and I should say that his death is a cultural tragedy,” Makhala said.
His death on Friday came barely a week after the country lost legendary musician, broadcaster and actress Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma, who also died of Covid-19.
Mwase, who came from Nkhata Bay District was born on January 29 1968. He is survived by a wife.