Bhaureni’s colourful life on screen

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TELEVISION has always provided colourful characters that are not easily forgotten. Names that quickly come to mind are Elizabeth Taderera (Katarina), Safirio Madzikatire (Mukadota), Jessesi Mungoshi (Neria), Lazarus Boora (Gringo) and Philip Mushangwe (Parafini).

BY TINASHE MUCHURI

A new television drama series, Muchaneta, by Mirazvo Productions, has ushered in yet another character that is likely to remain lingering in viewers’ memories. His name is Eddington Hatitongwe and he plays the character, Bhaureni.

If Bhaureni’s late father had had his way many years ago, then the young man would probably have made his name as a footballer.
But he had such passion for drama that he decided to join the drama club at Highfield 2 High School.

“At first I was playing soccer at school. My late father really wanted me to be a footballer or an accountant,” he recalled.

When one actor failed to turn up as the school drama club was about to go for a competition, the teacher in charge of the club, Etina Samanga, made a distress call for a replacement during the assembly and Bhaureni offered himself.

“I was given the role of an abusive father. After the rehearsals, she said I was a good actor and should do acting and explore it further,” he said.

With the passage of time, Bhaureni was to meet Daniel Maphosa before he formed Savanah Trust to write and direct the play, Sacrifice, courtesy of the link through Samanga.

Maphosa called Patrick Tembo to assist him with music and the late Nicholas Mazenda with choreography before leaving Tembo in charge.

“I was part of the group that performed at Assitej festivals and Zimbabwe Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (Zatcyp). We also worked with Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network because we had the play, Sacrifice, which tackled child abuse issues.”

Hatitongwe grew up in Budiriro and after completing his O’ Level in 2003, he founded Shooting Stars Theatre Productions based at Zororo Community Centre in Highfield together with Tembo, Olivia Chipindu, Ellen Mazenga, Audience Nyangowa, Tichaona Mutore, Brezhnev Guvheya and Lloyd Nyikadzino.

He said Tembo moulded him to become the actor he is today.

“We could rehearse from 8 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening. We would do physical exercises for three hours and music for another three hours and then the following day we would return to do lessons on theatre and drama. Theatre is where my roots are,” he said.

During his stint with Shooting Stars, Bhaureni said they could spend up to six months without a performance, but that did not dampen their spirits.

“But if we get a show, we would give it our best. We wanted to show the world we are the theatre people,” he said.
The 35-year-old actor moved from Shooting Stars to Savannah Trust where he worked for a year alongside Maphosa before heading for Patsime Edutainment. Now he is with Mirazvo Productions.
Bhaureni said his role in Silent Words, directed by Sweden-based Zimbabwean thespian Kudzai Chimbaira and staged at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) in 2008, was his professional theatre debut.

“We were just coming from community theatre and people were undermining us, assuming that we had not yet matured. After the show, people came searching for me, but unfortunately they could not recognise me after removing the costume I had on stage,” he chuckled.

In 2009, Bhaureni clinched an opportunity to do a Diploma in Performing Arts through collaboration by Midlands State University, Patsime Edutaiment and Chipawo in the class of practicing thespians who included Elizabeth “Zaza” Muchemwa, Charmaine Picardo, Tichaona Mutore and Lloyd Nyikadzino.

In 2011, Bhaureni decided to go to Mhondoro-Ngezi where he stayed with his brother, a Literature teacher at Ngezi High School.

The stars smiled on him when his brother asked him to teach his students the practical aspects of theatre, drama and film.

“He also asked me to form a school drama club because they had a competition they were to participate in. It was a learning process for me,” he said.

He hailed the Primary and Secondary Education ministry for introducing performing arts in schools.

Towards the end of 2011, Bhaureni was called back to Harare to be part of the celebration of a Swedish Theatre’s 100th anniversary through plays coordinated by Peter Churu’s Complete Arts and the late Walter Muparutsa’s Global Arts Trust.

Bhaureni received The Stanley Makuwe 24 Hours Theatre Challenge 2017 Best Actor Award. He also took part in The Rich List, Ten Bush, Sunrise, all at Hifa, and What Are the Odds, a Hifa Direct Project sponsored by British Council in Zimbabwe.

He has played a variety of roles in television dramas including Pfuma, New Dawn, Paradzai and 831 all produced by Patsime Edutainment.

When he joined Mirazvo Productions in 2015 as an assistant director, he landed the role of Bhaureni in the hugely popular drama, Muchaneta, which has made him a darling of many television viewers.