While the local entertainment industry continues to wobble, two Francistown based actors have set their sights on working like slaves in order for them to break into lucrative industries such as South Africa and overseas. The 33-year-old Kwenze Poelo Mguni and Thembani General Mphapho (28) have vowed to slowly but surely carve their way up the arts industry with the hope of breaking into the South African industry. Inspired by a number of Zimbabwean actors who have landed aristocratic roles on South African soapies such as the Generations: The Legacy, the duo is convinced that opportunities are available outside the borders of Botswana. “Actors from other countries continue to strike gold in foreign countries, especially in South Africa while a British-Nigerian actor (David Oyelowo) is landing big roles at the international stage,” said Mguni. Mguni and Mphapho will this Friday and Saturday (23 and 24 February this year) stage a two-man play at the Francistown civic centre in what is believed to be the beginning of series of plays in different cities. Titled The Currency, the play exposes the secrets that distinguish the rich and the poor. In a nutshell, the play is about exposing the dependency syndrome that has engulfed the young and the old in the country.
It is against this brief backdrop that the two talented actors are taking it upon themselves to carve their way up at the same time educating members of the public on the importance of working hard and perseverance. “Nothing comes on a silver platter. One has to work very hard in order to live alike a king hence the initiation of the upcoming series of plays,” said Mguni, adding that the development will result in them catching of scriptwriters and filmmakers in lucrative markets. For years, Mphapho interjected, they have taken life so simple thinking that things will turn for the good. However, it was not to be, he said. In fact, Mphapho said acting is not taken seriously locally hence embarking on a series of two-man plays. Aspiring Mphapho said he has dreamed of stardom ever since studying as a drama student in his native Masunga village in the northeastern part of the country some more than decade ago. He has performed at different theatre festivals.
For his part, the play writer and director Lionel Nkosi said the play is all about doing away with dependence syndrome. He said Batswana should not just look up to the government to provide the ladder to greater heights. “It is always to prove that you can do something with very limited resources. The fact that one has started with little resources is a clear testimony to the one assisting that the beneficiary will do more with support,” he said. Nkosi said it is high time for Batswana to start asking what they can do for their country rather than asking what the country can do for them. He said his vision is to change the mindset of Batswana through theatre.