When Stanley Malizani Mambo expertly alternated between his roles as journalist and traditional healer in the soap Studio 263 a couple of years ago, many concurred that the actor had immense talent.
Known as “Sekuru Shanga”, an expert in love and business charms, or Shanga the discerning journalist who ruffled feathers even among sacred cows, Mambo easily endeared himself with Studio 263 viewers.
Just when his fans were beginning to enjoy his antics on screen, the talented actor quit the soap and sank into oblivion.
He ventured into a few personal projects in the country but maintained a low profile.
To arts followers Mambo had virtually disappeared from the scene and many were left wondering what had happened to such great talent.
But next week “Sekuru Shanga” bounces back to limelight, at least for his local fans.
The multi-talented actor is now based in Malawi and what brings him back to Zimbabwe is a play called Ganyu, which he directed.
The play opens next Tuesday at Theatre in the Park in the capital and Mambo is expected in the country tomorrow with Malawi’s Kufewa theatre group that performs the play.
Mambo has always been a versatile artist who sank his teeth into genres that include film, theatre, music and literature.
The play Ganyu is expected to run at Theatre in the Park for almost a month, closing on February 26.
It will be staged every day except Sundays and Mondays.
For Mambo, Ganyu is a journey of connecting theatre with other physical acts that are not common in this art form. In the foreword to the play, the director says the use of acrobatics, which he terms “afrobatics”, and other art forms like music and dance make the play unique.
“The experience of exploring and creating Ganyu is a deep search for the energy and spirit that can purely connect the art forms fused with the artist’s diverse talent,” says Mambo.
“The direction provoked actors’ training as a first stage drawn from my experience in theatre, film and music. In the process, we developed a unique fusion of theatre styles, afrobatics. In my discovery afrobatics is a creative theatre style fusing acrobatics, text, movement, music, sound and images in an artistically electrifying technique.
“African acrobatic artists have limited resources and exposure to create and present big circus shows. In this production my work and style focused on a clear storyline fleshed with the actors’ movement, expressions and emotions in an approach that brings out the expertise of each actor rather than just a sequence of acrobatic movements.”
The play is expected to be back in Zimbabwe for the Harare International Festival of Arts while until May it will be staged in countries like Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.
Between August and December it goes overseas for shows in Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Holland, Italy, France and Scotland.
The extensive tour of the play certainly is a great achievement for Mambo.
Born 33 years ago, the talented artist began his artistic journey in 1992 as an amateur actor, before taking theatre studies at Silveira House and Amakhosi Theatre.
His professional career began in 1997 and since then he has appeared in numerous theatre and television productions including Trials of Brother Jero, Passage, Studio 263, Mama Africa, Mistaken Identity, Sorry, Errors of an Error and Hoza Murena among others.
His focus shifted to directing and productions under his mentorship include Conquered Plans, La Reigne et La Pintade, Heaven’s Diary, All Systems Out Of Order, Positive Tree and Family Love.
Rooftop Promotions marketing manager Tafadzwa Muzondo said they were pleased to have Mambo back at Theatre in the Park where he has had a hand in various productions before relocating to Malawi.
“He has always been part of us and we are happy that he is bringing this play here. He has grown professionally and this play will give him another dance with his fans in Zimbabwe,” said Muzondo.