Multi-talented Phiri bares all

BULAWAYO - Patience Phiri is a woman of many talents who has excelled as a playwright, model and businesswoman.

The popular socialite’s play titled “Naked Girls Reading” at Theatre in the Park on August 31. Our Bulawayo reporter Jeffrey Muvundusi (JM) recently spoke to Patience Phiri (PP) on a variety of issues.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Who is Patience Phiri?

I am Woman, artivist (a person who uses his or her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression), social and creative entrepreneur, model, mother, head wrap and cocoa butter addict, social media junkie and a lover of all things artsy.

I understand that you have written a play titled Naked Girls Reading. Tell us more about it?

Naked Girls Reading is my first and it has been an exciting journey. It premiered at Theatre in the Park on August 31 and runs through to September 2. It is a cheeky and sassy two-woman show which blends text and skin. A must-see, if I do say so myself…

It’s your first time to write and direct, why did you then choose to hold the premiere in Harare instead of your home town?

The idea was pitched to Theatre in the Park and they loved it and wanted it so it only made sense that it would premiere there and then it will come to Bulawayo after.

About three months ago you launched a Twitter Party here in Bulawayo, what really inspired you?

#TweetZW is about bringing the digital world to life. The idea to mix social media and live arts together (which I both love) was the inspiration. So many times we interact on the digital sphere and never meet so this was an opportunity to meet, have fun, celebrate Bulawayo’s talent and tweet about it all as it happens. It has been a success and we are working on the third Twitter Party.

Can you tell us about your love for the camera?

Hahaha… Where do I start? I love it all-the moments leading up to a shoot – make up, wardrobe, lights, pose and the flash. I get to become someone else and I think my alter ego takes over. Then there is the waiting for the final product; very nerve wrecking I will tell you.

Can we talk about the picture(s) that have been a hit on social media? What was the shoot about?

I had the pleasure of showcasing international designer John Ablaza’s neck piece.Ablaza was in the country at the invitation of the American Embassy. The piece is made of feathers and coconut shells. Credit goes to the photographer, Eli Tawanda Tamirepi, for making me and the piece look amazing.

You have been a model for a few years. How has it been?

It has been a ball. No two shoots or photographers are the same.

Early this year you took the American Ambassador Harry Thomas on a tour of Makokoba on his first official visit to Bulawayo, how did you get that rare opportunity?

I will say that the universe conspired and I had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Thomas through mutual friends and in conversation I invited him to come and see ‘’my Bulawayo’’ so you can imagine my excitement when I got a call that the invite had been accepted. I decided to take him, his wife and a travel team to Makokoba because I draw inspiration from there. The township tourism adventure was a hit and we saw the amazing talent of Godfrey Makopa in the painted houses. It was a great afternoon and Baba Phathisa Nyathi was part of the team so you know we were schooled.

What’s the secret behind your love for head wraps?

Aha…I wear a headwrap to celebrate my African heritage and to honour all those that have gone before

What is your line of business?

I am into arts and crafts, I major in beadworks; African jewellery for the modern day woman.

Your hands are in many plates, how are you managing?

A lot of prayer, support from family and friends in addition to many sleepless nights. I do what I love so I make time to find a balance for it all. It doesn’t always work though.

Can you tell us more about your obsession with selfies?

Selfies are my down time and I enjoy capturing memories and sharing them with friends and followers thanks to social media. People from all walks of life seem to love a selfie moment; I am yet to meet someone who will refuse to take a selfie with me when I ask nicely

Who do you normally hang around with and what do you like doing during your spare time?

I am fortunate to have a circle of really good friends and we have many great adventures. I also enjoy curling up with a book when I can.

What can you say have been your major achievements in life?

I have an amazing son and through him I realise that the possibilities in life are endless. I have written my first play and will be premiering it on stage at one of the most innovative creative venues in Southern Africa.

A lot of artistes in this part of the country have been described as cry-babies who continually complain about being marginalised.What’s your take on that?

Now you just want to get me into trouble… I think being an artist is hard enough and in the current climate it is made even harder. As with any industry, a lot of blood, sweat and tears are required and a good measure of patience and opportunity won’t hurt whether you are in this part of the country or not.

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