Zambezi Magic Films Under Review: Nguzu Fuels Shupiwe-Tamara Rivalry

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Shupiwe, wife number five, is right. Nguzu, the polygamist farmer, only cares for Tamara in financial needs; the rest of the wives have to look elsewhere. For instance, Monde is only redeemed by Jairos (Farm Manager) when a peddler roughs her up for failure to pay for the clothes she bought on credit. It also takes Shipiwe’s flirting to free Tombi from detention following a murder case she is arrested for. But Tamara has only to cough for the polygamist to flash some banknotes.

That’s why, in a bid to outshine Tamara, Shupiwe take a huge leap that she can’t manage to complete. She grabs her husband’s Ford Ranger Pickup when her rival drives a small shopping basket. The difference is that Tamara can drive and Shupiwe can’t. We have yet to see her the second time in the driver’s seat of the same pickup; this time moving.

Perhaps, instead of grabbing such a big item, Shupiwe and her fellow wife Tombi should be thinking of changing their hairdos that are overstaying on their heads. Women say, for the status of Shupiwe, one month is enough to maintain the same hair extensions.

I’m not ignoring an earlier notable event. Mai guru explodes in fury as you’ve never seen before. Surprisingly, it’s against Mwiza, the second wife, with whom she had shared genuine smiles all along. Anyway, it happens. The anger in mai guru’s actions and voice is so convincing that you would think it’s a real quarrel. By all standards, that is a splendid display of rage in acting! It shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Again she showers Joyce with scorn and I agree with her, ‘Joyce is mad.’ In season two, Nguzu was beaten by thugs hired by his younger brother and left for dead. Luckily, Joyce played Good Samaritan and nursed Nguzu in her house until he was able to walk. In return for the aid she rendered the old man, she now demands matrimony with him as wife number eight. Some may say that’s not insane, fine. What about this: she separates herself from her husband and sticks to Nguzu like a leech. Without Nguzu’s consent, she even packs her bags and moves to the farm. Big mistake! By a whisker, she escapes a good beating from the polygamist’s two of the seven wives; thanks to mai guru. That’s the part where Junza calls her ‘mad’ and precisely that’s the character the author wants her to be. Apart from the irritating humming mannerism, this lady playing Joyce is a good actor as can be seen from her body expressions.

Then there is Uncle Patrick. Like Joyce, there is nothing to identify his name in the credits. The man is Hollywood material! Just look at the confidence with which he executes his lines. No rushing, no timidity, no mannerisms, everything is done right! He plays an old man who comes from the village to help his niece, Anita, to get the divorce from Nguzu. But when he notices easy cash from his son-in-law, he cunningly places himself on the farm’s payroll as Chief Security Officer and the divorce thing is history.

CITY ON FIRE

Writer, actor, producer, and director of City on Fire, Wyclif Mwamba, plays a role in his production; nothing wrong with that. He plays Mwamba, best friend of Bernard. This guy, Bernard, is key in the story if you recall, he is the man who lost his fiancé, Anita, to his rich half-brother, Muzo (by then they didn’t know they were related). In my view, Mwamba’s role is irrelevant. I wouldn’t object if someone said he included that role, not necessarily to add something valuable to the story but simply to make an appearance in his own work. He should have just obliterated it from the story and concentrated on behind-the-camera roles.

While on City on Fire, let me recognize the presence of veteran actress, Pulani Muntali Topamu. I once acted with her in a TV show during the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Play Circle. I’ve always respected and liked her natural way of acting and flexibility. In City on Fire, she plays Dora Manda, an iron lady who has amassed wealth by crooked means. She is even building an army with the objective of taking over underground affairs of the city of Ndola.

Especially that she is a woman, crippled and stinking rich, you expect Dora to be surrounded by a thick layer of well-paid and trusted bodyguards not easily taken down. Besides, we have been told of her unmatched experience and successes in evil machinations. For a newbie in her cartel to make it to the inner circle, it must take a lot of testing to prove worthy. That is the character that Mwamba created in Dora Manda at the outset. However, I scratch my head in disbelief when she is brought to her knees in her homestead by a lone novice, Maria, whom she is trying to groom. We haven’t seen Maria’s development that convinces us that she can shrink Dora to the level of an unprotected cub.

ZUBA

I came very close to blacklisting Zuba from my reviews when Phingiwe (Anny Katemanda) insulted men. I’m not sure whether that insult is scripted or Katemanda just included it of her own volition. Here is the scene: she is complaining to her daughter Natasha about her husband’s irresponsible behavior. Then, instead of directing the insult to him, she broadcasts it to men in general. For a film rated sixteen and watched by families, I don’t think that was appropriate.

Personally, I abhor profane language and I shun people who are foulmouthed. So, whether that insult was scripted or not, it paints a bad picture of Phingiwe and to me, she is now a villain. I hope the producers can see what I’m talking about.

Meanwhile, censure from the viewers keeps pouring in about the same movie’s lack of clarity this time around compared to the previous two seasons.

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