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Kwathu Drama Group revisits old play

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Popular vernacular drama group, Kwathu, has gone back to its collection and fished out a play titled Alibe Pabwino which will be staged on Sunday and Monday in Blantyre and Zomba respectively.

Kwathu’s Director, Eric Mabedi, popularly known as Jakobo, said yesterday Alibe Pabwino has been selected because of its message and that it was rich in history.

“We did say that, once in a while, we will be going into out collection of old plays and restaging them. This is because we have some plays whose messages are relevant to this present day,” Mabedi said.

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He said Alibe Pabwino will be staged at Blantyre Cultural Centre on Sunday before invading Gymkhana Club in Zomba on Monday.

“Apart from the message which is very rich, Alibe Pabwino is rich in history and, for your information, this is the first play for Kwathu in which Bon Kalindo (Winiko) starred,” he said.

Mabedi added that Winiko was introduced to the Kwathu theatrical world with this play.

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“It was a big challenge for him and, at first, he refused, saying he could not manage to star in Kwathu which was a big group. It was actually a challenge for him because he was replacing the late Christopher Chiwalo (GPMG),”Mabedi said.

He further revealed that, by then, the name Winiko was not there.

“That time, Winiko had another name in theatre and we picked him up when he was starring with Mulanje-based group Paulendo. In the past years, we had so many groups and so Paulendo was the top group in Mulanje managed by Elia Kamphinda Banda,” the veteran actor and comedian said.

Mabedi said it was unfortunate that, today, there are a few drama groups on the ground.

Mabedi, who is one of the founders of Kwathu, which is this year celebrating 38 years of existence, said it was after starring in Alibe Pabwino that Michael Usi (Manganya) spotted Winiko.

Apart from Alibe Pabwino being Winiko’s debut play, Mabedi also said this is a production which he co-wrote with his long -time friend the late John Nyanga, better known as Izeki.

Mabedi said this is a play that has the smallest cast and that it features veteran players.

Apart from him and Winiko, the other actors starring in the one-and-half -hour play are Charles Mphoka, Evans Mbewe, Emma Chikwembeya and Linda Chatha.

The group ended 2017 with Mulhakho na Mphatizano, where they also announced that they would be premiering a new play early this year.

“We were supposed to come out with a new play by now but we have not finished working on it including sending it to Censorship Board for approval. But we are currently doing rehearsals for it and hopefully we may launch it by Easter,” Mabedi said.

Kwathu’s new play is titled Achithekere.

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