Bon Kalindo, popularly known as Winiko, was the toast of the moment during the premiere of Kwathu Drama Group’s latest play Ana Akumpanda held at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) on Independence Day.
This is a play written by Charles Mphoka and was supposed to be premiered two years ago but, due to Covid, the popular vernacular drama group failed to do so.
This is not a political piece but Winiko uses his role to tackle issues that leave people in stitches.
Winiko, playing the role of an uncle, took time out to talk politics where he hit at Tonse government for its failure to honour promises made before it was ushered into power.
He said in one of the scenes that he hates politics because of the empty promises made by politicians.
Winiko spoke highly about the one million jobs promise which is yet to be fulfilled; the rise in prices of cooking oil which, he said, would not make it possible for people to eat three times a day as promised by the Tonse government.
The group has always held its performance at BCC’s Amphitheatre but, now in a pathetic state and yet to be rehabilitated, Kwathu was forced to occupy the auditorium which turned out to be small.
There was a delay in starting the production after the Kwathu team wanted to negotiate to have the performance in the Amphitheatre despite its poor state.
But this never materialised as the group went ahead to perform in the auditorium with some people watching the production while standing.
Despite the political issues, the play focuses on well to do families which raise their children in modern fashion that does not expose them to doing chores.
This is told through a family that raises its children in a modern fashion, with children not knowing how to do household chores, let alone cooking, and this has an effect on a girl child who fails to cook when she gets married.
Apart from this issue, the play also speaks volumes of the gap between the rich and the poor and also digs into issues of love.
The play saw Kwathu still using its theatre style where actors engage with the audience in between the scenes.
Before the play, the audience was treated to traditional dances by Dikamawoko Arts before poet Raphael Sitima took over to offer his poetry verses including his popular ‘Chala Changa’, which rises to talk about the 2014 tripartite elections in the country.
Apart from Winiko and Mphoka, some of the actors starring in the play include Eric Mabedi, Neria Chosalawa, Enifa Chiwaya, Moses Mandebvu and Emma Chikwembeya.
“It’s been long overdue; we could have premiered this play long time ago but we cancelled it several times due to Covid. We are happy that finally we have done it, we missed the fans and we are thankful for the support,” Mabedi said.
He said, with Covid cases rising and new restrictions, they were not sure as to whether they would go ahead to hold more shows.
“We would have loved to take it to other areas but, with restrictions, it is difficult. At the moment we are reading musician Billy Kaunda’s book— Hills and Valleys with the hope of turning it into a stage play and so we will come out,” Mabedi said.
He also said Covid has affected them greatly in that they had plans to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary last year.
Dereck Thumpwa, who travelled all the way from Zomba, hailed Kwathu for the production.
“This is what is happening in society; we are failing to raise our children in a responsible way; we are losing our tradition and this is why we have so many problems with marriages and relationships,” Thumpwa said.