Zim creatives on Netflix Chiedza Mhende

Zimbabwe’s romance with Netflix started earlier this year, with three of the country’s creatives featuring in the production, “Queen Sono”.

Zimbabwe made history earlier this week when a locally produced film announced that it would make its way to Netflix, which is the world’s biggest streaming platform with more than 170 million subscribers worldwide.

In this digital age, where content is currency and people are looking to Africa for authentic stories as told by us, for us.

Zimbabwe has stepped up to the plate with offerings of its own. The first Zimbabwean to star in a Netflix Original was Zimbabwean actor Chiedza Mhende who plays the role of Miri Dube in “Queen Sono” alongside actress and media personality Pearl Thusi.

Zimbabwean producer Kamera did the score for the recently released and highly anticipated South African and Netflix Original series “Blood and Water” which premièred earlier this week (May 20).

The opening theme song of “Blood and Water” is performed by South Africa-based Zimbabwean musician Frya.

Queen Sono is a South African crime drama web television series created by Kagiso Lediga that premièred on Netflix on February 28, 2020.

The series stars Pearl Thusi, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele and Zimbabwean Chiedza Mhende.

Netflix’s first African original series. On April 28, 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.

Then most recently, producer Joe Njagu and director Tomas Brickhill announced that their locally produced movie “The Cook Off” was going to Netflix.

The Cook Off was shot and released in 2017 and has shown literally all around the world from South Africa to Europe and America.

The movie premièred in July last year in London and has received numerous accolades and recognition.

Two of the stars of the show are Tendaiishe Chitima and Tendai Nguni (Tehn Diamond) discussed their contributions during a recent interview.

Nguni says:“Acting was my first love before I got into music & writing. I had been acting since I was 8. All throughout high school I was involved in drama and became the Head of Drama at Saint George’s.

“I played the first black Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Reps Theatre in Harare.

“So being cast in my first feature film which has made it this far is surreal.  I owe many thanks to Joe and Tom for taking a chance on me.”

Although they only started shooting the movie in 2017, Nguni had auditioned for the part of Prince a year before.

During that time he was working on his debut Album “A Few Good Poems” and in between he would attend rehearsals and readings where he shared that before Tendaiishe Chitima landed the part of Anesu.

He had read with several other people who auditioned and were cast for the role of Anesu, before Chitima was ultimately given the role.

Chitima, who was in South Africa at the time wasn’t able to attend the auditions in person so she sent a show-reel to the director Brickhill following Njagu’s recommendation. A week later she was in Harare and began shooting. They shot for two months that winter and completed in time for Chitima to travel to Poland, where she was travelling to complete her MBA.

They were also done just in time for Nguni who had scheduled to start recording The Feeling Aint Fear (#TFAF2) mixtape with A Few Kings – Junior Brown and Take Fizzo — which was released in October.

The trios’ first offering of #TFAF1 was in 2015.

Asked about the lessons from acting, the stars agree that taking ownership of one’s self and the character one plays is key.

“Sometimes you get rejected and that can put a dent on your self-esteem and cause you to doubt yourself. However, I have learnt that auditions have a way of building one’s belief and developing a tenacity and extraordinary confidence,” says Chitima.

Both agreed that their favourite moments were spending time with the cast that included Jesesi Mungoshi who played “Neria” in the 1993 hit film, alongside the late great

Oliver Mtukudzi.

Discussing their plans and projects, Nguni says another production is in the works with a South African studio which they look forward to.

Chitima was most excited to announce her first one woman show which will première in Harare once the coronavirus infectious disease (Covid-19) pandemic is over.

With Zimbabweans making such great strides in film and media, it’s impossible not to feel inspired and proud.

Plaudits to all the creatives that are putting in the work and raising our flag high for the world to see because this is the content we all signed up for. — Online.


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