Zim actors shine in Nigerian film

HARARE - Love Triangle, a film directed by leading Nollywood (UK) personality Nelson Spyk, has put three Zimbabwean actors in the limelight.

The film- produced by Jolie Jones and Funmi Awolo- features Zimbabweans Angela Mandaza, Munnya Usuwana and Daniel Ndhlala who got the chance to act alongside Nollywood heavyweights Alexx Ekubo and Daniel Lloyd.

Love Triangle, which premiered in London on August 4, is a complex love story that revolves around a fraudster called Razor (Munnya Usuwana) who is embroiled in a world of deceit and scams.

Interestingly, despite playing a starring role in the Zimbabwe-Nigeria collaboration, Love Triangle is 26-year old Usuwana’s debut film.

Usuwana is better known in Zimbabwe as a spoken word poet and musician. He attracted the attention of respected Nollywood director Spyke while doing a poetry performance at a film premiere in London.

“I was invited to perform at a movie premiere in March this year and I somehow impressed Spyke and other Nollywood directors. Spyk later called me and offered me role in Love Triangle alongside popular Nollywood actors Alex Ekubo and Lloyd Daniel as well as fellow Zimbabweans Angela Mandaza and Daniel Ndhlala,” Usuwana told the Daily News on Sunday.

Usuwana was fascinated by the role he was given by Spyke even though it reflects exact opposite of his real character.

“I play a very obnoxious, deceitful and illusive character, who will stop at nothing to acquire wealth. I play the role of a very cunning thief who will do anything to get money including using his own girlfriend to get his way.

“It is very funny though because my character in real life is the exact opposite of my role in Love Triangle. I am a very empathetic person in real life. That’s acting for you; sometimes you get roles opposite to your real personality,” Usuwana told the Daily News on Sunday.

Unlike fellow Zimbabwean Usuwana, Mandaza has acted in several other films before but she regards Love Triangle as the biggest film she has featured in to date.

“This is my biggest role. I am Alex’s Lover in the movie. My character is very dubious but has a soft-spot for her true love,” she told the Daily News on Sunday.

But how did Mandaza attract the attention of famous Nollywood director Spyk?

“I made quite an impression when I first met the director. He liked my unique look and the fact that I identified strongly with my culture,” she said.

Mandaza added that she enjoyed being on the same set with popular Nigerian actors.

“It was only daunting the first few hours during rehearsals. Once we got on set, training took over. The Nigerian actors made me feel comfortable. We are quite close now,” the Zimbabwean actress said.

Thanks to her inspired performance on Love Triangle, Spyk has lined up more roles for the talented Mandaza.

“I will be filming in two other African countries (Zimbabwe and Uganda) before the end of 2017. I will be working again with Nelson Spyk from Nollywood (UK). He was impressed by my performance on the set of Love Triangle,” said the Harare-born actress.

The third Zimbabwean on Love Triangle- Daniel Ndlara -is a veteran on the African film scene in the United Kingdom. He was an actor and producer of movies such as Betrayal Drama (2016), Broken Cross (2014) and Ghetto Savage Film (2017).

Ndlara relished seeing Zimbabwean and Nigerian actors collaborate on Love Triangleunder the stewardship of Spyk.

“It was great working with fellow Zimbabweans Munnya Usuwana and glamour actress Angela Mandaza alongside Nigerian actors. Nelson Spyk- a Nollywood (UK) pioneer played a key role influence in the making of Love Triangle.

“This shows that Zimbabwean actors are equally good if given a chance. This has inspired me to seek collaborations with other Zimbabwean film makers so that we can take our film industry to new heights.

“I want to collaborate with the likes of Willard “Slimaz” Magombedze, Jay Jonasi, Melgin Tafirenyika and Marc Mandisoul just a few to mention,” he said.

The performance of local actors on “Love Triangle” appears to have set the stage for more Zimbabwe-Nigeria collaborations.

Spyk told the Daily News on Sunday that he will be coming to Zimbabwe before the end of the year.

“Love Triangle is in line with the vision to promote our (African) talents in the Diaspora. As Africans we have our own story to tell in the UK. The aim is to promote UK-based African artists. We will be coming to Zimbabwe to do a feature this year,” said the respected Nigerian director.

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