Eugene Khumbanyiwa speaks movies
The country’s South Africa-based stage, television, film and voice actor, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, has said Malawi should believe in its own stories, stressing that the world is getting more interested in what Africa has to offer.
Eugene said in an exclusive interview that there are many successful stories in Africa.
“The gates are open. We have just read that Trevor Noah is also adapting his memoir into a movie and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyongó will star and produce it. All this shows that there is demand for African-success stories,” Eugene said.
He said it is not only about politicians’ memoirs and biopics of people such as Idi Amini or struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko anymore but rather it is about ordinary Africans.
“We have people like the Trevor Noahs and William Kamkwambas who have made a difference in their communities or people whose achievements continue to inspire fellow Africans in one form or the other,” the actor said.
Eugene said there is a hero in each one of us.
“I can safely say there is a neo-black renaissance going on right now,” he said.
The actor, who is popularly known for playing the role of Obesandjo in the 2009 Oscar-nominated sci-fi hit District 9, is part of the cast for the latest movie The Roar, which was premiered on Thursday and released on Friday.
And speaking about The Roar, Eugene said the movie is different and that it is a faith-based family drama.
“All the movies I have done are mostly action movies. This movie deals with a subject of finding one’s purpose in life, which I can relate to a lot myself. It’s about doing what makes you happy and finding God’s given gifts in you,” he said.
He further said this is an inspiring; follow your dreams, funny and fast paced drama adventure movie, with some great music, set in the beautiful African bushveld and in New York.
“It is an adventure drama, filled with life lessons and a good family value, which brings together actors, cast in the principal roles, from both South Africa and the United States of America,” the actor said.
Eugene also said that while the main theme of the film is “how to find your life purpose”, underlying themes focus on nature conservation, parenting lessons and caring for young people.
He said, as actors, they had fun starring in the movie and is optimistic that people will enjoy it and love the story.
Eugene also commented on the talked about film Black Panther which features, among others, Nyong’o and Malawi-born actress Connie Chiume.
“Black Panther is an amazing movie and I am not surprised that it’s such a big hit. For years, movie-goers, African and non-African, have been waiting and yearning for proper stories about Africa and its people,” he said.
Eugene observed that poverty, disease, war and corrupt governments have, for too long, been the main portrayal on the big screen.
“We cannot deny that it’s a true representation of who we are and how we behave at times as Africans. Boko Haram, Josephy Kony, the killings of our albino brothers and sisters for muti are the realities of our African lives and they are an embarrassment to the world,” he said.
Eugene said, through Black Panther, people wanted to see Africa in a different light, given all the potential that it has.
“The vast resources, the cultural diversity, beautiful landscapes, languages; that is the gap Black Panther fills-a big budget Hollywood science fiction movie led by a black superhero, something that we are not used to, and full of black actors, which fully focuses on Africa,” Eugene said.
He said, although the movie touches many dynamics and issues facing the black community, it touches those issues in a way that unites black people and instill,pride in who we are, and what we are as Africans from customs, to clothing, food, music, etc.
He also said women in the movie are featured in an elevated position where they are strong and at the centre of decision-making, innovation and nation-bulding.
“As an actor, I feel Black Panther’s success will open a lot of doors for black actors including African-born actors who are striving to make it in Hollywood,” Eugene said.
He also said he is happy that the Hollywood A List team, led by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, came to Malawi last year to shoot a film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, telling the story of innovator Kamkwamba.
The film is set to be released this year.
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