The Melgin Tafirenyika diaries: Zimbabwe’s own Denzel Washington

 sk melgin 5This week meets one of the most recognisable Zimbabweans Living in South Africa: model, producer, screenwriter, bass guitarist, carpenter, and all round movie magician: Melgin Tafirenyika.

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This Zimbabwean needs no introduction to any avid television viewer, having been on Generations, Isidingo, Game Mates, Sour Milk, I Will Marry Myself,  The Wild, Better Days, Deep Thought, Love Is Not Enough, Gold Diggers and over 20  television and print commercials within the Southern African region.

This is the first part in our two-part series of Conversations with: Melgin Tafirenyika


Your Childhood?

l was born in Harare April 30, 1986 and l grew up in Mbare before we relocated to Chitungwiza in 1998.

My childhood memories l still remember when l was in grade one buying ma jip (chips) each for a cent. I also remember l used to idolise my older brother Gladman Dongo and we have a lot of memories together. l still remember one day we stole a relative’s bicycle after I unlocked it with a wire. While we were cycling it the pedal broke, and on we went a smashed into an old man who was walking past. It was really from the frying pan into fire.

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But in my professional career l’ve done film such as Twist in 2010, When The Voice Sings in 2013, Harvest Of Shame in 2011, I Will Marry Myself in 2012, the title sequence model for Generations The Legacy last year, title sequence model for The Wild in 2013, Sour Milk in 2014, Better Days in 2014, Deep Thought in 2015, Love Is Not Enough in 2015, Gold Diggers in 2015 and on top of that l have over 20  television and print commercials within the Southern African region.

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I Will Marry Myself

In l Will Marry Myself l was the writer, actor and producer. l was a player and this guy Coaster many people could relate to the character because of his mischief. l didn’t really give justice to the character because being a writer, actor and producer at the same time wasn’t that easy. If l shoot this film l will change a lot of things like the part where the lady was marrying herself.

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Sour Milk

In Sour Milk l was the writer, actor and producer. This one was co-written by Anderline Gold Egbuhuzor and directed by Myre Maramba. I was playing the same character – a player – because Sour Milk is a sequel to l Will Marry Myself. Yes there was justice to the role and if l were to shoot l would improve on the quality, but not the storyline.

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What are you working on now?

My First Boyfriend is the one movie that is close to my heart and we shooting it this month (May). I am the writer, producer and director and the storyline is full of emotion l won’t get into details now.

What does your filmography look like?

I Will Marry Myself was airing on Mnet Mzansi Magic, I was on lsidingo on SABC 3, on Game Mates SABC 2, Fong Kong Pastor on Mzansi Magic, Sour Milk was on DVDs in Zimbabwe in 2016 and in 2015 Sour Milk was nominated for Nama Awards best out standing screenplay.

In 2015 l was nominated in five categories for Zimbabwe models awards and l walked away with two: Best fitness model and Best international model. In 2014 l was nominated for best media personality of the year in Zimbabwe Achievers Awards. In 2009 l won medals for modeling in a competition called model championship held in Pretoria.

You worked with Simi. What did you pick up from the Nigerian approach to the entertainment industry?

Working with Simi was amazing because that was a big production l was learning a lot of technical things. I picked up that Nigerian people support each other and they believe in teamwork. But in Zim humbimbindonga (one man show). We need chase making a quick buck most of the time and we do not support our local production or our fellow professionals

Boss Models. When did you join them? Describe the male modelling industry. Do men actually strike it as “creatures of catwalk”. What are some of the truths/lies about this portfolio?

I joined Boss Models in 2013 and to me it was a turning point that’s when lve grown more as a model and people started recognising my efforts. Well l won’t tell much about ramp modeling because l was a commercial model l’ve never done ramp modeling especially on the fashion side. Some of the lies about modeling is you have to sleep with the designer for you to make it in this industry. The truth is that modeling is a hard job so much is required from you, like good looks, sexy, good teeth and so forth.

What other roles do you play in the industry, produce film, film and production management, voiceovers?

I am a director, writer, model, carpenter, actor and bass guitarist

Is there anything else that you would like to pursue?

I want to pursue my career further so that l can nurture my company Light image production to big like some of the popular Hollywood Studios.

The one person in the world whose career path you would like to match or surpass? Locally? internationally? How and why?

I want to act like Denzel Washington because many people say l look like him and he is one of the best actors in the World.

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What should the Zimbabwean film and entertainment industry in order to survive?

In Zimbabwe we need to revamp the whole film industry , we build a structure of how things should be done and have proper distribution channels.

What should the South African film and entertainment industry do to be effective?

In South Africa they should groom new actors than seeing same actors over and over.

What should the African film and entertainment industry do to compete globally?

In Africa we should tell our heritage and our African stories

What do you do to relax?

I like my mango juice and listening to Hill Song music

If you have friends over, do you cook or prepare meals for them. What is your best dish

Yes l do cook for my friends. My favourite dish is a very simple rice and beef stew

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If you could save anything during a fire, what would it be?

My gadgets especially my Camera 5D

What is the best piece of advice that you have received? From who? And have you lived by it?

The best piece of advice l received was from my Uncle Masimba and l lived by it he said to me: Melgin modelling is a good career, but you need to purse a life time career because after 30 years you start fading up in modelling. So l then decided to be an actor.

What is the worst piece of advice that you have received? Did you follow it and how did you conclude that the advise was bad?

People telling me that you should at list make one movie in year that was poison to me.

Tell us about Mai Va Melgin

Mai Melgin also known as Towards Tafirenyika l salute that woman she is my everything she supports me in everything. I compete with models who are dressed by designers/custom made whilst she does 80% of my shopping and most of the time I still look outstanding. At one point in time l won the silver medals in a competition called model championship in 2009. So l went and studed carpentry everyone in my family supported me. After carpentry l decided to do modelling and throughout that ‘confusion’, she still supported me and l went to model management to study grooming and deportmen. l came out with A plus at Post Graduate in 2007. I then decided to study acting in South Africa staying with my uncle Masimba Tafirenyika and again the whole family came and supported me. So today l am who l am because of my family.

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I don’t know how to thank my mum, Mai Melgin. She always tells me that I must keep pushing one day I will get a breakthrough. My prayers are that she lives to see my wedding.

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… to be continued


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