The local theatre industry may seem to be in the doldrums, especially after the closure of Theatre in the Park a couple of years ago, but for 29 year old Tafadzwa Hananda, winner of the NAMA 2014 Outstanding Actor award, his career is just taking off, thanks to receiving the accolade.
Hananda started his acting career as a student at the University of Zimbabwe back in 2006, starring in the play Disco Inferno produced by Theory X Media under the direction of Zane E. Lucas. For him the award has opened vast opportunities outside our borders.
“Many people down play the NAMAs but it’s the one national accolade you will need especially if you want to be taken seriously outside the country. It speaks of your level of commitment and dedication to quality,” said Hananda. Since his award he has performed in a South African play entitled Mine Boy which had two runs in Durban, first at the Stable Theatre and then at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Mine Boy is an adaptation of Peter Abraham’s novel, staged as a collaboration between the community, schools and professional actors.
Towards the end of 2014, Hananda landed himself a role in the multi-national production Twenty Fifteen written by Sierra Leonean author Olufemi Terry. The multi-disciplinary ensemble had 17 artistes and directors drawn from Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Germany, Uganda and France united on stage in a music-dance-theatre performance. Twenty-Fifteen combines many voices asking and answering the questions of the younger generation regarding growing up, friendship, sharing ideas and career guidance.
The local cast included: mbira artiste Hope Masike; Tumbuka dancer Maylene Chenyeraji; beat boxer Probeatz; Yeukai Zinyoro from Rolx Dance group; comedian Clive Chigubu from Bulawayo; Tanaka Lionel Roki; and Kelvin Campbell of the ZimFlava group. Foreign artistes included: Antonio Bukhar and Ronald Kibirige from Uganda; the producer Cindy Jänicke; artistic director Atif Hussein; actor Tobias Schulze; musician Kilian Unger and videographer Xaver Xylophon all from Germany; French dancer Pascale Firholz; and Swiss choreographer Olivia Marinoni. The play travelled to Ludwigshafen and Bremen, Germany in November last year and is currently on tour in Germany and Austria.
Locally, Hananda created Man Unchained, his first attempt at directing. “This is a very hybrid show, a collaboration of beat-boxing and acting, working with Probeats.”
Hananda also travelled with the play to Germany, performing it as a parallel project to Twenty Fifteen, had a national tour with Half Full Half Empty, and worked with Tafadzwa Muzondo of Agit Prop Theatre Production in the play Demolishing Democracy which premiered in December.
“I am looking forward to new experiences locally and internationally. During my tour of Germany I’m going to learn puppetry and ventriloquism, which I will introduce in future productions,” he said.
Hananda is a graduate of the UZ Theatre Department, and has worked in several plays, including Pub Stories, Swallowed, Sinners, Prisoners of Hope, Facebook, and many other community theatre productions.