During her stay in Big Brother Stargame hou-se, Maneta Mazanhi portrayed a character that many would not want to emulate.
She created enemies among viewers back home and was heavily blamed for her scuffle with Roki that led to their disqualification.
Report by Godwin Muzari
So, when Nothando Nobengula was told she would assume the role of Maneta in a play titled Roki and Maneta (Encounter) that was staged at Theatre in the Park last week, she was uncertain how she would go through some of Maneta’s ugly scenes.
The producers of the play arranged a meeting between Maneta and Nobengula so that the latter would have a better view of the shoes she was about to wear.
“I had lunch with Maneta and I was surprised by the differences between the character in Big Brother and the real Maneta,” said Nobengula.
“She openly told me that she had been acting in the house and I was convinced because I saw a down-to-earth person who is open and friendly. Maybe she showed me that character because she wanted to give me a certain impression but she was a good person.”
After going through some clips from Big Brother Stargame and studying the script, Nobengula was ready to treat theatre lovers to some wild scenes as Maneta. Roki plays himself in the play and his combination with Nobengula took audiences back to the Big Brother days.
“I really enjoyed working with Roki. I met him for the first time when we started our rehearsals and I was impressed by the effort he put to practice for his role. He was a bit under pressure because this was his debut in theatre but he did very well. He was committed to execute his role and I feel he was exceptional on stage.”
Despite playing the role of Maneta very well, Nobengula admits it was not easy to fit into Maneta’s shoes.
“Most of the roles I have played in previous theatre productions and even in films involved being a young and nice beautiful girl. I played good girl roles and I felt very comfortable to portray such characters.
“It took me extra effort to play Maneta. As an actress, I have to fit in all roles but I must admit that the role of Maneta took me off my usual track and it was a bit taxing but I had to do it.”
“Acting was never part of my childhood dreams. I wanted to be a doctor because my mother was a nurse and she was my role model. I had my first acting role in a drama at primary school but I never took it seriously. I got into serious acting at high school when I somehow found myself in the drama club. That was when it all started.”
Nobengula has featured in a number of local films that include The Zimbabwe I Know, The Long Night, Playing Warriors, Think, Sinners and Zambezi.
She did major roles in theatre productions that include Only Hope that was staged at the Harare International Festival of the Arts last year and Indigenous, Indigenous, Indigenous that was staged at Theatre in the Park early this year.