Danai Gurira shines on the big screen

HARARE - One of Zimbabwe’s success story for 2016 was the rise of actress Danai Gurira, the Zimbabwean girl who is making it big in Hollywood.

Apart from her role as Michonne in the hit series The Walking Dead, Gurira landed a role in Tupac Shakur’s biopic, All Eyes on Me as his mother Afeni Shakur.

The year was a fruitful one for the actress as she landed one of the greatest roles in her career so far, in Marvel’s Black Panther. She will play as Okeye, a tribes woman.

Marvel comics are the greatest animated super hero movies and this role shows how much Gurira has made it in the Hollywood movie industry.

On the local scene the Zimbabwe Film Festival came back bigger and better attracting a number of films from all over the world.

From Britain came Amy a documentary on the late musician Amy Winehouse.

The festival recorded good turnouts on the major nights which were opening, closing and premier of Escape.

Over 50 films showed this year, which is a record high for the festival.

The feature film Escape, collaboration between Zimbabwean film maker Joe Njagu and British Agnesika Patrowska was premiered at the festival.

The film which features the likes of Selmor Mtukudzi and Edmore Sandifolo was one of the best productions to come out of the country in years.

Meanwhile, it was a good year in the history of comedy as yesteryear comedy-drama Timmy naBonzo bounced back on the big screen in November.

However, it is sad to note that the main actors Timothy Tapfumaneyi aka Timmy and Lawrence Simbarashe aka Bhonzo are living a totally different life as the former is doing well in life while the latter is virtually broke and surviving on handouts.

Simbarashe who rose to fame through various voice overs, television adverts and acting, recently became a charity case after his life turned for the worst.

At his peak, Simbarashe lived a successful life characterised by designers’ clothes and owning several luxury vehicles but all went into oblivion following a spat of misfortunes that led him to lose his household property after his Chitungwiza house went into flames in 2012.

The development has affected him with signs of mental stress.

He has also lost his “golden” voice that was a darling with advertisers.

Tapfumaneyi said the new comedy-drama which bemoans the death of culture or ubuntu at the hands of social media is meant to revive their fortunes in the showbiz industry.

“We all know what happened to Mudhara Bonzo and we hope the new project will revive our careers such that we have something on the table at the end of the day. However, we tried to give Mudhara Bonzo roles that do not require talking much as action speaks louder than words,” he said.

The year 2016 saw locals appreciating comedy in an amazing way and this led to promoters inviting comedy gurus with the likes of Ugandan star Anne Kansiime, John Vlismas and Indian Riaad Moosa among others performing in the country.

It was also the same year where stars such as Doc Vikela and Carl Joshua  Ncube scaled dizzy heights in the sector supported by upcoming artists such as Baba Tencen and the Bustop crew.

Bustop TV, a group of young people making skits took social media by storm. Their skits which tackle everyday life in a comic way have had the whole nation laughing. This is not just talk, but there are statistics to prove it.

So far the most viewed skit on the Bustop YouTube channel has over 400 000 views. On Facebook they have 100 000 plus likes and the page has 51 000 organic views,

15 000 followers on Instagram and 5 000 Twitter followers.

No one knows how to market themselves better than Carl Joshua Ncube.

The comedian had an Asian tour. He went out of his comfort zone which is South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He toured Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and other countries.

He attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the highest number of comedy shows in a week.

He finished 31 shows in a week out of the desired 35, but this puts him in the running for the record.

Ncube is awaiting confirmation for the record.

While for years Zimbabweans have complained over their content not making it on any DStv platforms, in the past few months that has been gradually changing.

Since the introduction of Zambezi Magic, the channel that focuses on Southern African content, Trace Africa focusing on African music, there have been fewer complaints.

Tocky Vibes, Jah Prayzah, Soul Jah Love, Queen Vee, Ammara Brown, Tytan and others have had their songs on rotation, even landing spots in the Trace Africa Weekly Chart Show.

It is now a norm for many Zimbabwean songs to be played on the channel.

Also making waves in 2016 was Comrade Fatso who has toured the world with his Zambezi News Show which saw the show being nominated for the Freedom of Expression Awards in the United Kingdom.

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