By Kudakwashe Nyengera
Not every fairy tale ends with a happy ending. Lobola, the movie, which seemed to be the next best thing in Zimbabwe’s film industry — if not the region — may only last as long as its premiere screening.
The Censorship Board has banned the movie from the big screen. They want it to follow the “right procedures” and be approved before it hits the big screen commercially. In a move that must leave Zimbabweans gutted, what with the anticipation that was hovering in the air after the Big Brother All-Star-studded, five-star, red carpet premiere, Rufaro Kaseke the producer of the film broke the sad news. “We have been directed by the Censorship Board not to go ahead with the public screening of the movie,” he said.
“The move comes as a shock after we gave them the copy of the movie for viewing — which they DID, before giving us the go-ahead to screen the premiere. “That (film authorised for premiere) is the same version we intended to show the public but for some strange reason, it is no longer good enough. “They have given the directive to Rainbow Cinemas not to show the movie or else their Licence will be cancelled,” said Rufaro.
The premiere event attracted top government officials and The Big Brother all Stars housemates on Thursday last week. Some of the housemates included Lerato, Meryl, Mwisho, Paloma and Sheila. The event stole the limelight, as it seemed to be the “first” ever REAL red carpet premiere with international celebrities in Zimbabwe.
SEE PICTURES OF THE STAR STUDDED PREMIERE
Had it hit the big screen, Lobola was going to be a hit with many firsts as it looked set to be the first ever comedy full-length feature film, first ever film starring Zimbabwe’s diamond boy, Munya Chidzonga of Big Brother fame and first ever local feature to take place in one day as the story starts in the morning and ends in the evening of the same day.
The log line on the promotion teasers of Lobola reads: ‘The mutilation of the African marriage custom by a cosmopolitan groom, his brothers and their accomplice, the bride’ which leaves one wondering what could spite the censorship board given the comedy is one that shows the disintergration of African culture caused by migration to the west.
United States-bred Sean (played by Munya) has a fight with his affluent father Mr Muza (Joe Pike) and decides to come home to Zimbabwe (after 14 years) for his summer vacation. He is joined by his brothers T-Bone (played by Tonderai Hakuna) and Curtis (Sean Ray) to form a trio made in hell – at least for a traditional and African wedding ceremony.
Sean figures if he gets married he will get his father’s respect and look responsible enough to merit the heirship to his father’s Granite empire. So he meets Christine Moyana in Zimbabwe and decides she’s the girl he wants to marry. She is a Chitungwiza girl from a family with all sorts of characters. Her brother, William (played by teetotaller Edmore Sandifolo) is an ambitionless drunk who the family would rather do without. Her mother (Pretty Xaba) looks a strict no-nonsense type of parent and she also has a sister Vimbai (Rumbidzo Zhou) and a decent father Mr Moyana (James Joni).
Factor in the three musketeers from the States, in the company of their uncle, Sekuru Magaya (Anthony Tongani) who is the only one on the groom’s side with an idea of what was to take place, and you have the whole idea behind the flick that comedy-loving Zimbabweans may be denied to view.
Shot in full HD (which is as good as it gets anywhere in the world) and with the sound proffessionally recorded separate from the picture — something rare in Zimbabwean productions too — this movie was set to be a revelation to Zimbabwean film lovers.
The editor of the flick, Mighty Movies’ Tapiwa Gandiya took six months to sync the audio to the picture and complete the edit. Everything looked too good to be true, added to the grand premiere and the world-renowned attendees at 7-Arts.
Until this!!! Here was a world class movie that is wholly Zimbabwean, with a lot of vernacular too and subtitles to assist non-speakers, but alas. Written and directed by Joe Njagu, who also joins Rufaro Kaseke, Nyaradzo Muchena, Supa Mandiwanzira and Munya to produce the movie, Lobola was one everyone was anxiously awaiting but so far, only the few people priviledged to watch the premiere — which was on a strictly-by-invitation attendance — may ever see the flick on the silver screen.
Munya, who is the distributor of the film through his company Ivory Pictures, could not be reached for comment, as his mobile phone was unreachable. Efforts to reach officials from the censorship board were also fruitless although there are indications that the movie will be on the big screen once it is vetted. H Metro