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Kwathu hits at ‘prophets’ in new play

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Popular vernacular drama group, Kwathu, on Sunday stormed Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) staging their latest production titled Aneneri which takes a swipe at false ‘prophets’ who are all over leading people astray.

The play, which was first premiered at Mulanje View Motel on Saturday, was co-written by musician Billy Kaunda, who was not present during the premiere and the group’s veteran actor and playwright Charles Mphoka.

There were several events in Blantyre on a chilly afternoon, including the launch of gospel singer Thoko Suya’s album at Robin’s Park just a few kilometers from the venue but the theatre group’s premiere received its fair share of the audience.

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With a cast of close to 13 actors, the play tells the story of a happily married couple played by Mphoka and Linda Chatha. The couple’s relationship gets into troubled waters after the woman starts attending fellowships spearheaded by a ‘prophet’ played by Eric Mabedi.

The ‘prophet’ claiming to be a man of ‘God’ uses different tricks to build his reputation, including engaging people in the church to masquerade as the sick and disabled among others in order to attract people to his church.

The system works perfectly and sees the prophet getting the limelight as well as accumulating wealth. He even goes further to use his powers to destroy families, including the couple of Mphoka and Chatha following his revelations that Chatha’s husband was possessed.

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This ends up destroying the couple who later part ways and later the prophet finds a house for the woman and starts paying rentals.

A lot of things happen thereafter but as they say there is no secret under the sun, people start questioning the ‘prophets’ behaviour and the climax sees him being taken to task by some of the church’s faithful, including Chatha’s husband, who learns later that his wife was fed with wrong information that he was possessed with evil spirits.

Random interviews with people heaped praise on the group for tackling the issue saying it has come at the right time but others felt some scenes need to be shortened and that the group needs to rework on the piece and dig deeper as for now they only gave them a scratch.

Mphoka said this was the most challenging play for them as they had to dig deeper to tackle the issue involving the so called ‘prophets.’

“We are not saying all prophets are bad but to some extent it has turned out to be a free-for-all zone where some just wake up and proclaim themselves prophets. Sometimes it all boils down to how people, who go to fellowships, interpret the teachings. Our aim in bringing this play is to teach people that we should respect our families and that where there is God there is always peace,” he said.

Mphoka, who said they were happy that the audience appreciated the theme saying marriages have collapsed because wives went to fellowships and received teachings which they ended up misinterpreting and thereby disagreeing with their husbands.

Winiko, real name Bon Kalindo, who once starred with Kwathu before taking a break due to some differences described the piece as good and educative and called on Malawians to support this oldest theatre group with funds to tour the country with the play.

“There are a lot of issues happening in our society which go unnoticed but I am happy that Kwathu has zeroed in on this subject. There is more happening in our churches including corruption. We need to support Kwathu because it is the only group which has stood the test of time,” said Winiko.

He then revealed that he is back into the group and is set to star in a production slated for July 26 at the same venue.

Some of the actors starring in Aneneri include Enifa Chiwaya, Evans Mbewe, Frank Mbewe, Emma Chikwembeya, Ferguson Magona, Moses Mandebvu, Mussa Penoh, Penemulungu Banda and Neria Chosalawa.

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