Zimbabwe Digital News
Melgin Tafirenyika’s latest offering, I Married My Mother is complete, and ready for the box-office. With a rich cast of Zimbabwean film talent including Stella January (Maidei), Memory Bususu (Stembeni), Antony Tongani (Timothy), Michael Ruwizhi (Munyaradzi), Charles Kamara (Patrick) and a host of other upcoming talent, this film chronicles the challenges society faces because of traditional norms and greediness.
When Boniface (Brighton Jazire)’s mother (Maidei) is diagnosed with breast cancer, his uncle, Chirwa, sees that as an opportunity to get back at Richard, Boniface’s father who had earlier rejected Maidei for another woman.
Meanwhile, Richard, on the other hand is having challenges accepting lobola (bride price) for her daughter with Stembeni, his current wife because Stembeni’s brothers also want their lobola while Chirwa is eyeing something as well.
So when Maidei finally succumbs to cancer, Chirwa declares that no burial will take place until the bridal price is paid.
Boniface seeks assistance from his father who initially refuses but makes a U turn and marries Mary, Stembeni’s daughter and gives the money to Boniface who in turn goes to Chirwa to marry his mother.
Only then did Chirwa agree to bury his sister.
Zimbabwe Digital News caught up with ace-Zimbabwean actor, film-producer and director Tafirenyika and asked him:
1. Is this based on a true story?
No. It’s not based on a particular true but that such incidents are still prevalent in the Zimbabwean society. Actually these were daily routines in Zimbabwe until the government crafted legislation to stop the practice. So this still happens but not to the period prior to the introduction of the said legislation.
2. The actors and actresses
Stella January: She has worked with us on previous productions such as Chihombiro and 206 Bones. She has several productions she features that are airing on the Zimbabwean television and her past performances and age were ideal for the role of Maidei.
Memory Bususu played Stembeni. She is equally a household name in the Zimbabwean arts industry and she worked with us on Flowers of Dry Thorns. Just like Stella her experience and age got her the role.
Brighton Jazire who played Boniface is a South African based artist with a passion for the outdoor world. While to most of the crew and cast he was a new face, I had worked with him on my previous production in South Africa and liked his accent and love for acting.
Zacharias who played Richard, has been involved with the arts industry for decades. Infact he works in the govt for the arts dept. His passion for acting made us to look at him and give him a role.
Mapfumo Katsaya played Chirwa. He has been part of our crew but we gave him cameo roles on Love is not Enough, The Lamb, 206 Bones. This led him to get roles with another producer for two more productions. He seems to be growing with each performance.
3. Who are you targeting with this film?
This film is meant for firstly the deep cultured audience who believe that death of a female relative must bring them wealth. It is time that people value that people can have challenges financially, but the dictates of nature cannot be shunned away from because of such challenges.
Poor people want partners but they or their children must not be held to ransom. Secondly it’s meant for political leaders who need to protect the vulnerable members of society by crafting laws that make the Chirwas of the world ineffective.
While people must pay lobola as appreciation for the women God gives them, just like Christ paid a price for the church, such price must not be monstrous.
Thirdly it is also meant for the international audience to show that, while they may have their own challenges aligned to their traditions, we have our own that we should work together to have a common ground for our differing challenges. The film also brings to the fore the question of whether lobola should be an obligation or not?
4. This is the 4th time that we ask you this question, as it comes with every new production. What are the challenges of filming in Zimbabwe?
Obviously one of the greatest challenges, which is not isolated to me, but to the best of my knowledge, affects the entire Zimbabwean film industry, is funding. It was a zero budget production which has a lot of challenges, but I rank it up there among our productions. The story line and dialogue is powerful including the ending as this does not depicts toning down of hostilities between Chirwa and Boniface even though Boniface had paid up. The international audience will learn some of the intricacies of our society and the value placed on lobola, some which they consider as a petty issue.
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