Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
GOING through a divorce for many women is a time of great distress and embarrassment, but for actress, Tsitsi Gumbo, this was the stimuli she needed to take up the arts again.
Gumbo won the Outstanding Theatre Actress accolade at the Bulawayo Arts Awards after her debut performance on stage in Bulawayo in the play Untikolotshi last year.
This was after ending her six-year union with a fellow artiste she met at the University of Zimbabwe when she was studying Theatre Arts.
Gumbo said when she got married, she was forced to abandon her dream of pursuing a career in theatre because her husband barred her from being on stage despite the fact that he is an artiste.
“I had a bad marriage as I was banned from acting or doing anything that had to do with the stage. I think my potential was too scary for him as he had a low self esteem.
“He didn’t want me to be exposed or interact with people. Even though I assured him that I’d sign no kissing and no nudity clauses in which ever productions I was involved in, it still wasn’t enough.
“I really believe that he saw that he’d be irrelevant in my future if he let me shine,” said Gumbo.
She said she had since found new love and was planning to get married next month.
Gumbo said her fiance had rekindled the old flames she had for theatre and being on stage.
“I learnt that you don’t have to be apologetic for your dreams and do not compromise. I wouldn’t have won the BAA award if I’d accepted that I should just be a wife and not pursue my career. One shouldn’t kill his or her dreams to make someone happy, ” said Gumbo.
She said she had been healed and was grateful to have gone through the trials as she came out a better person.
The artiste who grew up in Bulawayo’s Njube suburb, said the love for acting started at a tender age.
“I’ve always been attracted to performing from a young age as I’d mimic actors in front of my mother’s mirror in her bedroom when I was growing up in Njube. My first acting stint was when I was in Grade Six at Mtshede Primary School.”
During university Gumbo said she was back on stage and felt at home. She at one time performed at Hifa and later at the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo.
“When it was time for Intwasa, I knew I needed to be on that stage because I’d done Hifa. I got a role in Untikolotshi last year at the Bulawayo Theatre and it was amazing,” said Gumbo.
The BAA award, she said, had inspired her to work on a one woman play.