A ZIMBABWEAN actress based in Lagos, Nigeria, Caroline Chipwanyira has clinched a deal that will see her playing a role in two Nollywood movies in a development that she has described as “a miracle”.
BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
Popularly known as April Parry in the Nigerian film industry, the 20-year-old actress told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that her breakthrough in Nollywood — as the robust Nigerian film industry is popularly known after the United States home of film-making Hollywood — was a miracle.
“I featured in a few films like All Good Things and Something True, which are not yet out. Being in the Nigerian film industry was a miracle. It just happened after I did a monologue for my lecturer in class and the next day he took me to the school owner, Emem Isong, to do the same monologue for her and she gave me a role in her movie.
After that I managed to get sponsors who started pushing me and helping me in the industry,” she said.
The Bulawayo-bred actress said the fast lane of the film industry in Nigeria was demanding, and she had to work extra-hard and get out of her comfort zone to be able to perfectly fit in, while the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which saw several governments implement lockdown measures including social distancing had slowed things in the industry.
“It (COVID-19 outbreak) has affected me because I had some projects I wanted to do before year end, but they were all put on hold because of the lockdown. However, my greatest challenge was to be part of Nollywood. It’s not easy.
I had to get out of my comfort zone and try to be exactly what they were looking for, which was really hard for me,” she said.
Chipwanyira said Zimbabwe still had a long way to go in terms of developing its film sector, which has also been negatively affected by the country’s grim economic situation, but expressed hope that players in the industry would work hard enough to turn the corner.
“If we are talking about other countries like Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, I feel the film industry has grown and they are really working hard to produce good films that are worth watching and also because of the stable economies in their countries, it has become easy for them to produce films as they are also paid well,” she said.
“But if we are talking about Zimbabwe, I would say we still have a long way to go and one of the reasons why I am saying this is because of the economy. But if we keep on working hard, I believe we can bring out the best in ourselves.”
The actress, who was inspired by Danai Gurira, said she had always loved acting since childhood and had followed African movies with a passion.
“I always loved acting since I was a kid and I liked watching African movies too. So I started really being serious about it the time Regina Daniels started acting and became famous because she was young and was really doing well. I asked myself that if a child of my age is doing it, why can’t I do it? She inspired me, she made me push harder and also realise that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and put extra effort in everything you do,” she said.
Chipwanyira did her primary and secondary education in Kwekwe before she left for Nigeria to fulfil her dream of becoming an actress and film producer. Over the years, she has worked alongside some of Nigeria’s finest actors including Ruth Kadiri, Yemi Blaq and Segun Arinze.