A documentary chronicling the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo’s battle with cancer was launched on Thursday at 7 Arts Theatre, Avondale.
The 30-minute film could have been an exceptional production had it not been for poor sound.
Never in Zimbabwe have we had a film tracing the life of a musician from his happy moments to his time of illness until his death and burial.
The narrator’s voice is very clear yet interviews with various parties are hardly audible. When the researcher interviews medical practioners, musicians and Dhewa’s wife, the sound just drops.
Musicians interviewed include Oliver Mtukudzi, Charles Charamba, Kapfupi and Somandla Ndebele.
Despite the sound hitch the documentary portrays touching scenes of the musician’s life and death.
Scenes of his live performances refresh memories of the late musician’s expertise. In the interviews Dhewa is optimistic and says doctors have told him that he can win the battle.
But images of the musician lying motionless in hospital beds with expressions of pain are very touching.
Images of media headlines announcing his death precede scenes of his funeral and burial.
Though the turnout at the launch was not as high as anticipated, what should have been touching for the audience was viewing realities that the documentary highlighted.
Titled The Show Goes On, the documentary should leave many hearts bleeding because of the revelations of what the late musician had to endure.
He had to undergo 18 chemotherapy sessions after which he fell seriously ill as they weakened his body. This drained him of huge sums of money and forced him to keep on working in defiance of his deteriorating his condition.
According to the documentary, the International Atomic Energy Agency says Zimbabwe records 7 000 new cancer cases per year.
Of these cases only 1 500 access treatment.
This is against the background that there are only five pathologists in the country against a population of over 12 million.
The documentary also estimates that Zimbabwe could possibly be sitting on over 10 000 new cancer cases per year as most people die without knowing they have a cancerous condition, unless it is an external turmour.
Only two public hospitals, Mpilo and Parirenyatwa, can comprehensively treat cancer locally. Cancer treatment is very expensive. Less than 50% of people diagnosed of cancer in Harare live more than five years after diagnosis. Ironically Harare has more treatment facilities than any other city or town in Zimbabwe.
If the sound is improved and it is well marketed before distribution, the documentary is more than just a wake-up call to the health sector. It is a relevant comentary on non-delivery in the sector.
While tears are still fresh on the cheeks of Dhewa’s multitude of fans, the late sungura maestro’s heir, Peter, has given hope to all who thought his legacy would easily be forgotten.
After the speeches and screening, Peter gave a spectacular performance that left many die-hard Dhewa fans convinced that if well mentored, they will mourn no more.
He was complemented by his late father’s trusted lieutenant and right hand man, Shiga-Shiga along with well-choreographed stagework by Utakataka Express.
Doubtless, audiences could clearly see elements of the late Dhewa in his son’s voice, gestures, stage garb and presentation.