COMMENT: Let Zimbabweans tell their own story Tongayi Arnold Chirisa

TELLING our stories is not an end in itself, but an attempt to release ourselves from them, to evolve and grow beyond them,” scholar Rachael Freed wrote in a 2010 contribution to the HuffPost.
Isn’t that so true about Africa?

Africans are beginning to take charge; they are writing their own stories to defy the lies that have been peddled for centuries. But correcting deliberate historical distortions is most certainly not an end in itself. It’s an attempt to escape the shackles of one-sided storytelling and forge a new path for the future of the continent.

Writes journalist Maïmouna Jallow: “When we as Africans tell our own stories, we re-write the stories in the history books that our children are still taught in schools.”

With the advent of new media, and social media in particular, now is the best time to re-write the stories in history books. Now is the best time to correct the undoing of oppressors and grow beyond the intellectual boundaries imposed on us by European books.

This is why we celebrate Zimbabwean-born Hollywood actor Tongayi Arnold Chirisa, who is working on a film that will tell a Zimbabwean story.

A Zimbabwean story told by Zimbabweans is the best Zimbabwean story that can ever be told.
Chirisa, who was in Victoria Falls since last Thursday, said the film is based on the life story of Victoria Falls boxing promoter and founder of Victoria Falls Boxing Academy,

Further, the setting for the film will be Victoria Falls, the cast will be from the resort city and the storyline will be local.
The celebration of a local hero by our own Hollywood star is a milestone in the field of telling our own stories as Zimbabweans.

Joe Njagu (foreground) and Tongai Chirisa during a tour of Victoria Falls

Chirisa, who has featured in several top films including the comedy Mr Bones and the AMC horror Mayfair Witches, said this will be the first time he is doing a local film since breaking into Hollywood.

The film will chronicle the sportsman’s life experiences with the goal of giving hope, love, and faith to disadvantaged youths.

Chirisa will be working with filmmaker Joe Njagu, who is famed for the Netflix film Cook Off. Njagu is the producer of the upcoming Victoria Falls film.

This film will not only tell Mupfuti’s story and celebrate Victoria Falls as one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it will defy the negative stories being peddled about Zimbabwe.

“I am here with the scriptwriter and director Jessy Rollins and Joe Njagu, who is a film creator from Harare, and we are here on a special assignment trying to see what we can do in terms of bringing an exciting story based on an incredible individual here by the name of Tobias, who owns the local boxing academy.

“We are trying to tell his story that will probably bring hope and joy to the world around and hopefully bring the film world into Victoria Falls,” Chirisa told our correspondent in Victoria Falls.

May the good Lord grant our Hollywood star long life as he evolves and grows beyond the Western portrayal of Africa.

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