Zambezi Magic Films Under Review: Ubuntu – Clots In Blue Blood

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Now we are talking Chiefs, Queens, and successions! Chief Mukango of Ubuntu village is terminally ill and he must name his successor before curtains. He has two choices: his daughter or his younger brother. But there is a dilemma. The daughter, Thandiwena (Chichi Daisy Lusumpa), lives in the city and in the chief’s mind, she is a spoiled brat who has no brains to rule a kingdom. On the flip side, is the chief’s brother, Tachimba (Robby Nyirenda), whose path to the throne is clogged with every impediment from the queen’s arsenal. He also appears to have some ulterior motives.

So, the lot is cast, but which way does it go? In the presence of the chief’s sister, Tachimba himself, and the chief’s wife, who, apparently, exacerbates the chief’s illness, His Royal Highness exhausts his last breath to pronounce the heir, Thandiwena, whereupon commences the struggle for power. Tachimba has trouble accepting a woman as a ruler and shares his feelings with the indunas expecting them to rally behind him.

That’s what I could piece together from the few instances that I have been able to see the movie. Not my fault, there is just no water in the Kariba Dam to enable Zesco to generate enough electricity to power our TVs. So, when Dstv is airing Ubuntu, there is usually a blackout where I live.

Okay, power or no power, the review must be done. Let me kick off with the cast. All in all, the parts suit the characters squarely. Only if you are a nitty-gritty digger can you argue that the woman acting medicine woman is young for her character. But it’s not much of an issue.

The acting is good too; especially that the actors have the liberty to use each one’s native language. Why not when subtitling is there to bring us to a common understanding?

Here I’ll proceed at a snail’s pace. I’m trying to get a clear view of the succession custom that the people of Ubuntu follow. In some African traditions, heirs are chosen even before they are born and everything just falls into place when the time comes with no bickering whatsoever. But in this scenario, if the bone of contention is going to be the choice of the next ruler of Ubuntu village, then theirs is not a preset system. We shall see what happens, especially that going to the village is least on Thandiwena’s agenda.

ZUBA

A few weeks back I praised the Zuba producer for the good picture. I still do. However, the sound is not exactly what you would call ‘good.’ This cannot be blamed on the actors, it is probably the equipment. The only one whose fault it is is Justo (Leo Dauty Simukoko). He muffles his voice especially when he is speaking in street Cibemba. You’ve got to close your eyes to hear what he is saying, or else rely on the subtitles even if you understand the language. I hope he or the director realizes that. Otherwise, he is one of my favorite actors.

There is another loose end that can be fixed in the next season; language. Well, in some movies, language is only used as a medium of conveying the message to the viewers. But in Zuba, the language is used as an identity of the main characters’ nativity. The name Zuba itself is enough to tell you that the story has something to do with the Southern Province of Zambia. If you think that way you are right. Zuba, means ‘sun’ in Tonga, a language spoken in the province. So, the main character hails from the South.

Get me right, this is nothing to do with tribalism! I want to draw you to the cast. Reading between the lines, I can tell that the head writer of the movie (Evan Mweene) set the main characters to come from Southern Province and that is supposed to be seen by the language they speak. Alas! The people who are assigned to be Tongas can’t speak the language, so they speak Nyanja instead. The only few Tonga words they use are words like ‘baata’ (father), ‘baama’ (mother) and ‘mwanangu’ (my child). Maybe during auditions, no Tonga-speaking actors met the other requirements.

Hey! Is Suwi back? She has been absent from the story since season three started.

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