UNITED KINGDOM-BASED Zimbabwean actress, dancer and choreographer Enisia Mashusha has said risk-taking and self-belief have enabled her to be the artist she is today in the fast lane of the creative industry.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The multi-talented Mashusha established herself as a brand when she founded one of the country’s first-ever all-female dance groups, Mambokadzi, that danced its way to fame between 2005 and 2010.
Fronting for the Mambokadzi dance group, Mashusha changed the face of the local dance scene, and several musicians jostled for their services as supporting acts and to feature in their video projects.
“Believe in yourself. It is truly amazing the things we accomplish when we just believe we can do something. Believing in your dreams taking risks and embracing your failures. I credit my failures for all my successes,” she said.
“Learning from my setbacks and never giving up, I emerged stronger and wiser, armed with the knowledge not that I failed, but that I survived.”
In the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mashusha said it should not affect the creative minds as she was set to host an online dance show this August themed WoKadzi, fulfilling her dreams that failed to materialise last year.
“Last year, I wrote on Facebook that I wanted to do an all-female dance competition. Well, it did not go as planned. Behind the scenes, I tried to make this work, but it crashed in my face. The good part is that I don’t give up, I may take a rest and rise again,” she said.
“If it doesn’t work, I abort, take a few steps back, analyse, restrategise and do it again. Today I just want to say I have special theatre practitioners who have and are willing to support the vision. I called Daves Guzha and told him my vision, and he said Enisia, go on do it, we as Rooftop Promotions are willing to support your vision. We will provide the venue for free at Theatre in the Park,” she said.
“Farai Elton Mjanana said, Enisia I will write the script for you. National Arts Council also said they would love to support the vision. I do appreciate you all. This is the kind of support that we are looking for as women in arts.”
Mashusha said if people who have the potential to help are approached by women in arts they must not look at the person approaching them, but consider the vision behind that person.
“We need your support so that we can reach our full potential as women in arts,” she said.
Mashusha said WoKadzi dance show would run under the theme No to gender-based violence amid reports of increased global COVID-19 cases.
“Through this theme, I am saying dance is our escape, it is our refuge, it’s our mental therapy and physical celebration of our pain. Dance is our protest. It is our expression of the freedom we have never known, dance is our language and medium of communication. We shall simply celebrate, tell our tale of pain, joy, fear, excitement, worry, anxiety and lack of breath through our great stage performances,” she said.
Mashusha said the dance show would be co-presented by Dalma Chiwereva and Spiwe “MaDube” Guwera and directed by Ratidzo Eunice Chikowore. The Amakhosi Theatre product said for years, there had been a major divide in the way female artists were perceived, and their roles within the arts sector.
“There is still a big division in the number of female performers to the number of male performers. Women’s ideas seem to be overlooked and we are not taken seriously even when it comes to creative arts. Men are seen as creative and leading, therefore, they tend to get opportunities to create different arts work and show it off to everyone,” she said.
“What is this meant to make the generation of today think? Women are not meant to be creative in arts, It all starts when you come up with an idea. Women struggle more to get to the top than men.
It’s either society will pretend and act as if there are not even aware of what you are trying to push, but if that very same idea is hijacked by a male counterpart, society will support them.”
Mashusha said the more one got exposure, the more they grew.
“If women are not that good, then all we want is to see more bad art by women. Give someone else a chance to fail,” she said.
“It is sad that women have to hustle to make it happen for them and this then makes it hard for women in performing arts to make a breakthrough. For those of us who feel we sometimes have more to offer the world than the opportunities that our country is offering, there is need to do something about it to create opportunities,” she said.
In an earlier interview with NewsDay Life &Style, Mashusha saluted theatre guru, Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi Theatre, for shaping her career that has seen her making her mark in the male-dominated showbiz scene.
She said at Amakhosi Theatre, everyone learnt how to play any music instrument of choice as part of a diploma course, adding that she took it upon herself to learn how to play a guitar and keyboard.
“I did well with the keyboard, perhaps because of my secretarial background and, of course, (Cont) Mhlanga meant business, kwakungadlalwa (there was no time to play around). With that I was selected to be part of the first all-female musical band in Bulawayo; rather Zimbabwe, to be precise. Women in Arts is a musical production produced and directed by Cont,” she said.
Mashusha said she was also grateful to some people like Alois “samaMoe” Moyo, an actor and director and also one of the founding members of Amakhosi Theatre as he also inspired her artistic career.