Women in theatre celebrates Margaret Chikwembeya
Veteran actress Margaret Chikwembeya nearly shed tears Sunday when women in theatre visited her home in Chitawira, Blantyre to give her assorted items as part of celebrating her contribution in theatre.
The women led by chairperson of Women in Theatre (Southern Chapter)—Enifa Chiwaya and National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) Vice President Beauty Fologonya, sang songs of celebration before Chikwembeya joined them.
Clad in uniform, the women later donated the items to Chikwembeya which included maize flour, salt, sugar, soya pieces, margarine, soap, rice and beef.
The 76-year old thespian has been in theatre starring in among others, Tikuferanji soapie on television where she has been acting the character of Azakhali for over 40 years and she continues with her trade.
As a Catholic, Chikwembeya’s prowess started in the church when she used to participate in church plays and thereafter at school before she made a huge step to start performing in Sewero la Sabata Ino play on MBC.
“I never saw this coming, I have been acting for more than 40 years but nothing of this sort has happened to me. I am so thankful. In most cases, you get such things when you are ill,” Chikwembeya said.
The soft-spoken old-timer, who also imparted her theatrical knowledge to her daughter Emma, who stars for Kwathu Drama Group, also took time out to showcase her skills.
Chikwembeya took to the stage in a short sketch which saw her acting with Ruth Simika better known as Make Sikono in Tikuferanji.
Before the sketch, Chikwembeya also took time out to give advice to the women in theatre particularly the current crop saying they should be disciplined if they were to excel in the trade.
“It has not been easy for me to be where I am but it is all about discipline. I have earned names over the way and I remember when I was just starting radio plays at MBC, we used to go at night and others labelled me a ‘prostitute’ but I knew what I was doing,” she said.
Chiwaya, who performs with Kwathu Drama Group and is also into other plays, said they thought it wise to reach out to the veteran to thank her for remaining faithful to theatre.
“She is a role model to many in theatre. She has stood the taste of time to be where she is and we just wanted to celebrate her hence coming together and buying things for her. This is just the beginning but we are looking at doing more,” she said.
Chiwaya, who was recently among the creatives who was decorated by President Lazarus Chakwera in the Zikomo Awards, also offered a sketch with fellow veteran Linda Chatha.
“As women in theatre, we are ready to grow our art. Let people not undermine us. Let me also take this opportunity to call upon players out there to utilise us,” she said.
Fologonya, who is also Malawi Folk Dance Music and Songs Society vice president hailed women in theatre for the initiative and called upon them to continue working together to grow theatre in the country.