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Double Funeral: Playwright sympathises with criminals

Veteran playwright Thulani Mbambo says society is quick to judge malcontents without really digging deeper into what triggers the wayward behaviour.

By Kennedy Nyavaya

Scenes from the play Double Funeral. Picture: Shepherd Tozvireva
Scenes from the play Double Funeral. Picture: Shepherd Tozvireva

In an hour-long play titled Double Funeral which is performed by a four-character cast, Mbambo explores upbringing as an influence to one’s characters.

When Jokonia, played by Gift Chakuvinga, returns to the land of his upbringing after a 10-year exile, he is destined to wreak havoc and make all his torments pay.

Upon arrival, Jokonia finds Matilda (his childhood sweetheart played by Nomvuyiso Mpofu) is about to get married but has hidden the fact that she is the mother of the child they sired together.

She has found love and a ticket to leave the country and stay in Europe. While all seems headed in the right direction for his lover, there is a bag of secrets keeping both their families intact.

Failing to self-actualise and a misfit tag hoovering over his head Jokonia turns to blackmailing as he contemplates vanishing for good.

The vicious circle of secrets includes his uncle Magaduvana (Julian Tshuma) who is discreetly bisexual, Matilda’s murderous mother who conspired with the former to kill her husband and Matilda who is keeping her daughter a secret from her fiancé.

As the three ponder on how to solve the enigma, an attempt to kill their threat Jokonia with poisoned drink results in double tragedy as he stabs Matilda’s mother just before he dies.

“In most cases we find these gangsters but we are quick to judge them but we do not know what caused them to be criminals so I wanted to sympathise with this character Jokonia,” said Mbambo.

“There are so many Jokonias out there but we need to sit down and say what the causes are because right now we see him but we do not know what transpired when he was just a young boy.”

The play which was hosted at Theatre in the Park in Harare over a three-day period from Tuesday to Thursday also depicts the dangers of secrets in society.

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