Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre resurrects

Sigh of relief. Theatre enthusiasts have something to smile following revelations by the country’s oldest theatre group, Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre (WET) is gearing to get back on stage next month.

Wakhumbata has been on and off stage since the demise of its founder, theatre maestro Du Chisiza junior and had its last performance at now closed French Culture Centre (FCC) two years ago.

Its absence on the theatrical scene paralyzed the industry which has been starving for creative and breath-taking plays, despite Nanzikambe Arts, which is the only surviving theatre group as well as inconsistent Solomonic Peacocks and Lions Theatre Company’s efforts.

Late Du Chisiza Jnr: Founder of Wakhumbata

In an interview, WET’s director Khumbo Bazuka Mhango disclosed that the group was regrouping itself in readiness for a resurrection next month when it will  have a show in memory of its founding father Du Chisiza,who died in 1999.

“It has been a long time since people watched us on stage, but it is because of the rising costs in terms of venue charges and promotional materials such as adverts.

“But also never forget that now theatre and music are fighting for same venue and audience and this has crippled us because music seem to be taking swift strides than theatre. The audience has been poor for the past years and this has greatly demoralized us,” Mhango explained.

Du memorial

Mhango said the group is expected to stage back to back commemoration shows in remembrance of Du Chisiza between February and March this year .

He added that in reverence to late Chisiza, the group will stage one of his popular plays apart from new plays written by Mhango himself.

“We are thinking of staging Bare Foot in the Heart, which is a lot of people are requesting, but we will have to look into that critically. Its not like I have been dormant all this period, I have been writing plays and people should expect more from us. We are coming with a bang and we will ensure that people get more than they bargain for,” he added.
Since the death of Du Chisiza junior, WET has been sailing through turbulent waters, and it experienced a great disturbance when one of its old members late Gertrude Kamkwaitira defected from the group and formed her own Wannado Ensemble Theatre (WET), which lies currently on death bed since the demise of Kamkwatira.

However still, WET under Mhango has managed to groom  a bunch of actors and actresses that are currently making prominent strides theatrically.

It has also managed to stage several plays, which include Black Maria and Blood and Power, a play that earned the group a nomination as second best English theatre group of the year in 2003 under Luso award.

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