Celebrating East African Writing!
Argh, I’m watching her now Shingi. So dramatic! Kucheka hembe dzeku Truworths kudaro! That pair of scissors was huge! I wonder what the wardrobe lady will say?
Yep, it’s hashtag power asset. Can you believe it, Shingi? It trends every night. No one talks about the actual storyline. They talk about those ‘power assets’! I just want to grab everyone by the shoulders and shake them until they see what they are promoting.
No, I can’t replace her. They’re trying to localize content, so I’m out of the running for the lead, because I can’t speak Zulu. You’d think the fact that I can speak French would have counted for something. The director could have done something more creative for me. He could have created something exotic, and I could have used my French. That would be giving these silly South Africans a bit more of an education. You know they can be so insulated.
Exactly, just like the Americans. So, while Power Asset has a lead role as a beauty-queen turned head-of-the-company, he typecasts me as a border-jumper Power Asset “Good-Samaritaned”, or should I say “World Peaced”, and took in to her home until she gets a new start in life.
No Shingi, trust me, it’s a good thing you haven’t seen it yet. You would die, in the next show I’m applying for asylum status!
Tell me about it. This is what happens when producers have to be creative about their sources of sponsorship. They start looking for money from the Department of Home Affairs! It’s crazy, I wanted to ask them if Malusi Gigaba actually watches this show, because it’s not even updated with anything on these new dispensation permits. If anything it’s public disinformation, even with-
-Yes, Shingi, I applied for the Zulu course at the School of Languages.
It’s legit, the one at Wits University. It starts next month.
Shingi don’t be like that. I mean I’m beginning to ‘hear it’. You know, I now know that ‘phumakim’ means ‘get away from me’, or to use the wonderful Queen Mother’s English ‘get away from my person’. That line is thanks to Cassper Nyovest. Or rather thanks to this industry party I went to last week. They played international stuff and then they started playing local music. I didn’t stay to hear any other local songs because Power Asset arrived and everyone began to swoon over her.
-Huh? How long do you need? Ok, I’ll hold.
Hello? Are you back? What I really wanted to say is that I think that God is testing me. You know, with these smaller roles in shows where I know I can do better than the lead. He needs to know how committed I am to this whole acting thing.
Yes, strengthening me for bigger things. But sometimes I wonder if it’s fair. I already moved from Zim and left my lead role in Nu Generation. People loved my character so much Shingi. Do you know that they were even talking about getting me a segment on Mai Chisamba’s talk show?
I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. I didn’t because I wanted to be sure first.
Yeah, it was gonna be great. I even told Kudzi at Econet about how I was thinking of the ways we could get sponsorship from them, and call it something like, ‘The Juice with Rujheko’!
Don’t you get it? You know how we have to juice our phones?
Yes, that’s it. We could have even shortcut my name and called it ‘Jheko’s Juice’.
A little a too sexual?
That’s because you’re a pervert Shingi. Speaking of sex, there was even talk of a movie that USAID wanted on AIDS and male circumcision. I was going to be the lead, something about being a girl who only dated men who’d been snipped and there was going to be a guy who really wanted to get with me, but he wasn’t. I mean you get the gist of these development movies. I can’t see young people queuing to see this one. Neria was great, but now the standard has dropped. I was still grateful though; it was going to be a start for my movie career. You know, building my portfolio… Shingi, are you still on the phone?
If you are, then say so! I want to know that I’m not talking to myself!
Ok, good. So, anyway, I’ll keep going to local castings. I’ve decided that despite the difficulty, I’ll ride this one out for at least a year.
No Shingi, I’m not making a lot of money! If I was making the kind of money Power Asset does, I’d be calling you directly during the day! I’m even using that Cell C Call Home Card as we speak! It’s even cheaper than those Econet ones; you should try it next time you’re here.
You can be so silly sometimes. Anyway, I mean it’s also part of my saving up.
Of course, I make sure to send money kumusha, Shingi. It’s the unnecessary things that I don’t do.
By unnecessary I mean the things that are supposed to go with being an actress who has a decent role in a show on eTV. You know, gel tips, lace front, bags, heels. And Shingi, you know I love shoes, but every time I think of wasting money I keep seeing those pictures of Danai. I think of that cover she did, I think it was Essence Magazine. The one nana Laverne Cox and Nicole Beharie.
And they were all wearing grey?
Yes! That one! It was a special on prime time stars. I mean Shingi, what I’d do for that.
I know right? So I’m saving up for my ticket. Next year, I’m going to try my luck in LA. That’s always been the plan. South Africa was a stop-over, before I try for the big time.
I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get there, Shingi. I mean, I don’t have enough money to go to an Ivy League acting school like Lupita, but as long as I’m there I’ll find a way. I mean I did here. I waitressed for almost year, doing small roles on the side, until I finally got this.
Exactly, you know what they say, if you can make it in Jozi, you can make it anywhere.
—By: Panashe Chigumadzi
Panashe Chigumadzi is a Zimbabwean-born womanist, passionate about creating new and nuanced narratives, in the realm of fiction and non-fiction. She has recently completed her first novel, Sweet Medicine, and is currently looking for a publisher.
Panashe is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform which aims to speak to the life of young black women in post-apartheid South Africa.
Prior to Vanguard, she worked as a media executive at the Africa Business News Group, where she also wrote a column for Forbes Woman Africa, and worked as a TV journalist for CNBC Africa.
She has spoken on the media in Africa at events such as TEDxJohannesburg and the Ars Elektronica Festival in Austria.
In 2013 she became a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Community.
She has a Bachelor of Accounting Science from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is now reading for honours in Development Studies at her alma mater.
Follow her on Twitter @panashechig
(Read Part Three)