Bongani Ndlovu Showbiz Reporter
BULAWAYO has over the years produced many arts personalities, from television and radio celebrities to fashion icons and musicians.
Faces of people like Silandulo, Otis Fraser, Sizwakele “Zwa” Ndlovu, Kelvin Ncube, Sarah Mpofu, Nomakhosazana Ncube, Bongani Dhlakama, Lorraine Maphala are in the minds of people from the City of Kings.
Television programmes that gave them prominence were the likes of Teen Scene that used to be the talk of the town before being relocated to Harare, Sitsha, Amakorokoza, Kukhulwa Kokuphela, and Sinjalo among others.
The question is where have these people gone? What are they doing with their lives after their 15 minutes of fame?
Some of them got their claim to fame through television programmes; others became prominent because they won pageants while some are known to be arts critics and pen award-winning plays.
This week Saturday Leisure tracked down some of these faces to find out what they were doing for this year.
Firstly introduced to fans on television was Otis Fraser on the programme on Teen Scene.
Otis is perhaps one of the best television and radio personalities to come from Zimbabwe and is an irreplaceable entertainer. Da Flow, as he is affectionately known, has been rocking London and Johannesburg ever since he left Zimbabwe in the late 90s and worked at Gabz FM in Gaborone, Botswana.
Da Flow was famous for his show Teen Scene that aired on ZBC TV in the nineties has traversed the southern region for many years after the show was shifted to Harare.
Presently he is a radio DJ on Star FM a show called TXO (the cross over) 12 noon to 3PM Monday to Thursday.
“Beside radio I am working on music, graphic art productions. It is a passion of mine that will continue to pursue,” said the Da Flow. He said this year he hopes to use his influence to expose Bulawayo as an entertainment force to be reckoned with.
“This year I hope to play a role in the exposure if Bulawayo as an entertainment force to reckon with. Bulawayo has not been given the platform it deserves and therefore I hope in whatever way possible to same this plan come to pass,” said Da Flow.
His counterpart on Teen Scene Sizwakele “Zwa” Ndlovu has been busy with television programmes also as after the relocation of Teen Scene to Harare show has been making cameo roles on ZBC TV especially during the upcoming Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. She can be seen on a programme called Travel Bound that airs on ZBC TV on Sundays.
The programme takes a look at the prime tourist destinations in Zimbabwe and her immaculate command of the English language shows that she is from a different era of television broadcasting.
Former Miss Bulawayo Second Princess Nomakhosazana Ncube is now working at a clothing company in the city. She said she has not given up her passion for charity and the less fortunate.
“I am part of the I Am Beautiful Ngimuhle Campaign which is a project towards positively mentoring and empowering girls for personal and social transformation. The campaign targets young girls in secondary and high schools through power packed two hour seminars,” said Ncube.
The leggy former model said through her consultancy company Zana’Kay she has been able to reach many girls who are unfortunate and inspire them to better their lives. “I love people and am interested in the spaces in which they are found. It has always been my dream to be involved in changing mindsets, changing behaviour and changing lifestyles,” said Ncube. She said she was also working on a comic strip named Zimbo stars which she wrote.
Albert Nyathi is a man who needs no introduction, as he is known for his praise poetry and hit song Senzeni Na and I shall not Speak. Although he is working in Harare his heart is still in Bulawayo as just last week he and Peter “Young Igwe” Moyo were circumcised in Lobengula.
He said he was promoting a poem My Son he penned recently.
“I am promoting my poem, My Son. Last time I made My Daughter and people especially fathers started complaining that why was I not doing a poem for sons. So I penned one,” he said.
Renowned playwright, director and producer, Cont Mhlanga said he has shelved writing plays and television dramas and is imparting knowledge to his students.
“I can tell you there is nothing that will be coming from me. I have shelved writing plays and television programmes and now I am imparting the knowledge gained over the years to students in my classes,” she said.
The Amakhosi director who was in Mutare this week doing one of his projects said with the potential for television stations due to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline next year, he was also concentrating on generating content.
“It’s not about Cont Mhlanga and his plays. It’s about how many people can fill the 24 channels that will be on offer for 24 hours. So I am just imparting knowledge my students who amount to 40. I see that as 40 television programmes,” said Mhlanga.
He said his oldest student was a 56-year-old who wanted to tell their story through drama.
Under ITU provisions all member states must turn off analogue communication and switch over to digital by next year June. This means that Zimbabwe has the potential to have over 20 television channels.
The director of the Intwasa Festival who is also a playwright, Raisedon Baya who has written numerous plays and television dramas said he was planning a 13 episode drama.
He, however, could not reveal the story line only saying he had written the script for the seventh episode.
“I am working on a script for a television programme and we are on the seventh episode. Depending on the ZTV schedule we shall have it on television sometime this year,” said Baya. He said he was continuing with his passion for theatre and was writing a play for Culture Week.
Afro jazz musician, Majahawodwa “Jeys Marabini” Ndlovu said he was not sitting on his laurels and was organising a free shows for his fans.
“Our fans have been supported us for a long time so we are organising a show for them. These shows will be at Cowdray Park and Nkulumane and other parts of the city. We will set up a stage and then perform for whomever,” he said.
Jeys said the shows were also for those who did not like going to night shows and spots but loved his music.
Amakorokoza actress and Fingers modelling agency head Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda is not sitting around as she is working on a television drama. She is now a grandmother and is ageing well.