After successfully growing a local audience, popular comedy show Zambezi News plans to win the hearts of the continent and produce the best satire in Africa, with its producers already in talks with television stations in other countries.
Zambezi News, which premiered its third season at Eastgate Ster Kinekor cinema last month, has established itself as one of the most sought after local comedy shows in the country. Produced in a news format covering topical issues that affect citizens in Zimbabwe, the show takes a swipe at those in authority. Though not currently being screened on TV, the show manages to reach audiences through DVDs and YouTube.
In an interview with Harare News, Zambezi News producer Samm Monro, a.k.a. Cde Fatso, who features in the production as Jerome Weathers and other characters, clearly stated his vision for the project, saying, “We want Zambezi News to be the leading satire production on the continent!”
The newly premiered season took a step toward this, with improvements in both content and format. It has a host of new actors and an excellent production quality. “We tried to improve this time around; we learnt from previous seasons and ensured that we had some of the most skilled film crew as well as quality equipment,” said Monro.
The addition of other genres and news formats added to what was achieved in the preceding seasons. The introduction of popular musicians such as Ba Shupi and Tehn Diamond in the Even Mo’ Lil’ Swaggery Boy$ (EMLSB) music videos is definitely an exciting addition. Other additions include the reality TV section, ‘At Home with the Weathers’. Though fresh on set and outlining important issues in the day-to-day goings on in Harare, some viewers felt that the script was too wordy and could have benefited from being made shorter and punchier.
In a swipe at the new wave of religious leaders, standup comedian Q the Boss debuted as a prophet who preyed on congregants taking their money after performing ‘miracles’. His hilarious performance is definitely one of the funniest moments in the series. Monro said, “We wanted to get across our same hard-hitting comedy in a different, less predictable way. We never want to produce a season where people are like ‘Okay that’s the formula they use, and it’s always the same.’”
Zambezi News also introduced popular standup comedians from ‘down south’, Kagiso Lediga and John Vlismas, as their South African correspondents. At face value this should have proved a huge hit to viewers but Lediga, who also appears in South African show of the same genre, Late Night with Loyiso, did not quite cut it this time around. As reputable as he is, some viewers might have hoped for more.
The most outstanding addition was Natalie Kombe, who also works as the Shoko Festival coordinator. From the onset, she cracked up the audience with her very natural, effortless and convincing acting. She brings new flair to the EMLSB crew.
With a slightly tighter script, but the same positive, experimental approach and high production quality, there is nothing to stop the Zambezi News team from fulfilling their ambitions and putting Zimbabwean TV on the world map. “In the future,” says Monro “people should expect new twists, turns and characters. We always want to keep it fresh and cutting edge.”
For more information on how to get your copy of Zambezi News like their page www.facebook.com/zambezinews or follow them on twitter @zambezinews.