Zambezi Magic Films Under Review: Profession And Language Should Match


In handling finances at the farm, Nguzu, in Mpali, has been quite provident. He has even employed an accountant, Mr. Sitali, who is also his adviser in many non-fiscal issues. But the man’s character and that of a real accountant are many miles apart. Firstly, his vocabulary. One thing he must realize is that accounting is one of those very specific business areas in which you need to have the right word at the right time. Accuracy in terminologies will lead to accuracy in money matters. But the man’s speech pretty much falls short of business language.

When reporting to his employer, we expect the conversation to sound something like this:

Nguzu: Mr. Sitali, tell me about the business, how are we doing financially?

Mr. Sitali: You see Mr. Nguzu, when I studied the balance sheet carefully I noticed that the assets exceeded the liabilities, the farm has experienced a decrease in revenue due to the financial crisis. We have a cash flow problem because only a small percentage of our customers decided to use early settlement discounts, which meant that they had very high financial costs. Notwithstanding, this financial year looks promising in the second quarter because of an anticipated appreciation in the value of our new product, the Nguzu Banana Juice. Still, if we overshoot our overhead expenses, we will be making very little profit, so I decided to cut back on marketing.”

I’m a journalist, but honestly, don’t I sound like an accountant? I’m not trying to put words in his mouth but when Mr. Sitali speaks, we need to hear an accountant speaking. The script doesn’t need to tell us he is an accountant, he must show that status in his speech.

Secondly, appearance. Mr. Sitali looks more of a general worker at the farm than an accountant. We expect him to radiate that ambiance of a finance manager just in his garb and grooming. Talk about shirts, neckties and general outlook; all these must flash the man’s profession at first glance. I don’t dispute the fact that few accountants in real life look unkempt, but we need not to forget that acting is larger than life. So, things must be obvious.

I hope the producer will make the necessary alterations in future productions. Maybe off-camera the man must interact with people who work in accounts just to learn even rudimentary accounting vocabulary. By the way, I don’t know his real name. It does not show in the opening credits. I believe it appears in the end credits but they don’t show the actual characters, which doesn’t help to know who is who. Well, this is the decision of the production team. Still, I tried other means of getting the character’s name but to no avail. Anyway, it won’t hurt if we leave that for later.

While on Mpali, let me take a swipe at Tamara’s splendid display of guilt when her deception is laid bare. For close to a year, she has duped her husband, Shadreck Nguzu, into believing that she is pregnant by him and the resultant baby, whom he proudly names Mainza, is his. All in the while, gullible Nguzu has lived under the spell of her beauty and provided all her prenatal and postnatal necessities. The other wives have also had it rough when Tamara came in between them and Nguzu. Now, thanks to snoopy Shupiwe and the DNA test, the liar has pants on fire.

Many at the farm (including viewers) were looking forward to the day when Tamara’s scheme would be exposed so that they could celebrate. But the sorrowful countenance that she shields herself with, whether fictitious or not, has enough pressure to put off all the impending firework displays at the farm. Save for heartless Shupiwe and Mwanida, all and sundry feel pity for Tamara. It’s that sorrow that I want to underscore. No wailing, no mourning and no kneeling down to pleading, just a gripping mute, motionless, and indifferent expression. Good show Shakirah Phiri!


In 2019, Dstv viewers fought hard to have Back to School removed from the Zambezi Magic channel, citing poor acting and childishness as the reasons. But because money was spent on it, the comedy series was let to run its full course, much to the dislike of many. Finally, since no movie lasts for ever, it came to it’s peaceful end. Now it’s back, and to make matters worse, it’s a repeat. Meaning we are in for another irritating run. This just proves who holds the mantle and decides what is shown. So, fellow viewers, if you dislike the film, you might as well tune to another channel in its place or use the time to read.

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