Malawians will have a chance to watch he return of the famous play ‘De Summer Blow’ written and directed by deceased theatre maestro Du Chisiza Jnr which will be performed by Du’s children who have joined hands with some actors who worked with the departed playwright.
The actors who are in the production included Edwin Saidi, Jeremiah Mwaungulu and Ben Wandawanda (the only member of the original cast). Others are Dipo Katimba and Kelvin Ngoma.
The memorial will take place on March 2 at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe and on March 10 at Blantyre Cultural Centre.
Apart from founding Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre, the first professional theatre company in Malawi, Chisiza Jnr is renowned for over 20 plays he wrote and 25 plays he directed, often playing the lead role himself.
It is believed that Du had mnay children, but the ones that are readily traceable are Thlupego, Doreen, Zindaba, Khumbata, Du III and Serah.
Doreen, said the idea of the memorial shows is to celebrate the talent of her deceased father, who died on February 24 1999 by “reaching out to his fans and the country he perfectly served through his talent.”.
De Summer Blow is a story which was exploring political and social issues in the post-Kamuzu Banda era.
Du was a learned man who first became interested in theatre as a secondary school student at the Henry Henderson Institute in Blantyre.
In 1982, he wrote and directed The Deceased’s Attack, which won first prize at the National Schools Drama Festival.
He left for the United States in 1983 for further studies and in 1987 he was awarded a Masters in Fine and Performing Arts at the Philadelphia University of the Performing Arts.
His plays ranged over a variety of controversial issues. Me Nobody Knows and Tears of Blood (late Eighties), the first he wrote on his return, were banned by the government, which had been operating strict political and moral censorship since the late 1960s.
Later he came up with Fragments, which was an abstract piece which the one party dictatorship failed to understand.
In 1991 Educating Mwalimu, concerning love, marriage and “the new woman”, was shortlisted in a BBC playwriting contest.
Race relations and Pan-Africanism were dealt with in a historical context in Barefoot in the Heart (1992).
It was for his political plays that he was best known. The Deceased’s Attack was a rewriting of the Hamlet story with a Hamlet-type figure clearly modelled on Chisiza himself. The protagonist contemplates revenge for the death of his own father, an allusion to the theory that Dunduza Chisiza Senior was reputedly killed by agents of Kamuzu Banda.
Papa’s Empire (1990) used the corruption of a private enterprise as a thinly disguised fable for the malpractices of Banda’s Malawi Congress Party government.
He produced Democracy Boulevard (1993), which, controversially, satirised some of the abuses associated with multi-party democracy, particularly in relation to the unmuzzled media.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :