Nanzikambe Arts Theatre, still basking in the pride of having represented Malawi well during their performance of World 3.0 –The Aid Machinery in Germany with Theatre Konstanz, the group will next month be crossing to the United Kingdom where they will stage And Crocodiles are Hungry at Night.
The play is based on a memoir by poet Jack Mapanje which was adopted for stage by Nanzikambe Arts founder and former artistic director Kate Stafford.
Stafford, who now heads Bilimankhwe Arts in the UK, said all is set for the group to perform in UK.
Nanzikambe Arts Coordinator Nkhwachi Mhango said the actors will leave for the UK on July 21 with the first show scheduled for July 29.
“We have processed all the visas now and we are looking forward to another good show in the UK. There are a lot of things which we will also do apart from the play, we will be doing the shows in the evening and rehearsing the African Romeo and Juliet at the same time which we will premier it on August 25,” he said.
Nanzikambe premiered And the Crocodiles are Hungry at Night at its space in Blantyre on March 3, an event which saw veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira who is part of the story, in attendance.
This is a play whose contents are true and Stafford says in adapting it, she had been careful to be faithful to the story and portray what actually happened to Mapanje during his imprisonment at the infamous Mikuyu Prison in the time immediately before and after his incarceration.
Mapanje, who is the main character in the play, was jailed without charge for over three-and-a-half-years. When he arrived in prison, there were more than 45 prisoners sharing Mapanje’s cell but in the play we only meet five.
An unassuming university college lecturer at the time of his arrest in 1987, he was never told why he was being kept there – although it seems he upset some powerful people with his poetry.
The play takes the audience through the life his family experienced during his arrest, people he met in prison including journalist-cum politician Mpinganjira who assisted him in making connections with his family outside.
The cast includes Maureen Mathala as Maureen Mapanje, Misheck Mzumara as Jack Mapanje, Aaron Ngalonde as Brown Mpinganjira and Alex Mataka; Dipo Katimba plays Mapanje’s mother, Agness and Noriega; Mphundu Mjumira plays Anthony Nazombe, Zimani Kadzamira and Alidi Disi while Thlupego Chisiza stars as Elliot Mbedza and Ian Mbale with Jafali Amadu playing former Inspector General of Police the late McWilliam Lunguzi and Mtemwende Phiri. Hussein Gopole plays Geoff Chipungu.