Actors Jackie Appiah and Hakeem Kaekazim on set in Zimbabwe shooting a movie on Robert Mugabe.

By TANYARADZWA MARABADA

A SOMBRE atmosphere engulfed the state-of-the-art Ster-Kinekor auditorium in Borrowdale, Harare on Saturday when the Robert Mugabe movie finally premiered four years after it was shot.


This followed the announcement that three of the movie makers — Faith Mukorera, Emmanuel Mbirimi and Sitshengisiwe Siziba — died well before the film saw the light of day.


Mukorera was a dressmaker who created most of the actors’ outfits; Siziba played the role of former first lady Grace Mugabe’s older sister, and Mbirimi starred as late war veterans leader Chenjerai “Hitler” Hunzvi.


Shot in 2018 in Harare, Mugabe is an international co-production that brought together filmmakers and actors from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria. 


“The launch was a success, though emotional. We witnessed the Zimbabwe film industry coming together to celebrate the launch of the ground-breaking film.


“That was a perfect example of how Africans can collaborate to tell their own stories,” said Nyaradzo Mutsauri — one of the executive producers of the movie.


Directed by Nigerians Robert Peters and produced by Rogers Ofime, the movie follows the rise and fall of Robert Mugabe.


The role the late Zimbabwean strongman was brilliantly played by British-Nigerian actor Hakeem KaeKazim.


“Mugabe explores some of the controversies of his rule from his rise to power in 1980, the Gukurahundi, the resulting unity accord…right up to the divisions in the ruling party that led to his ouster in 2017,” Mutsauri said.


In the movie, also produced by Vivian Muthenjwa and Grace Nyemba, Ghananian actress Jackie Appiah played the role of Sally Mugabe while Caroline Mashingaidze-Zimbizi acted as Grace Mugabe with distinction as she excellently captured both the voice and mannerisms of the former first lady.


“The movie attempts to explore how the decisions Mugabe made in his public office had an impact on his private life by attempting to imagine the conversations that went on in his home when he came home after a day in the office.


“The film does not attempt to conclude the question that was on everyone’s mind: Was the late Mugabe a hero or a tyrant?


“It just tells the story of a complex man who had the difficult task of leading a nation after a prolonged liberation struggle and how some of his complex relationships contributed to his demise,” added Mutsauri. – Daily News