Cont Mhlanga embraces rural life
By Ntombiyolwandle Ndlovu and Mbongeni Msimanga
I would say that it is difficult to let go, it is not easy but all the same I will still try not to participate.”
If you think these words were uttered by a smoker struggling to put a stop to the habit or a drug addict finding it difficult to wean himself or herself from substance abuse — you thought wrong. These are the words of a man whose name is synonymous with arts — a man known by his arts moniker — Cont Mhlanga.
Cont thought that he could just switch off the passion that saw him dedicate over 30 years of his life to the arts industry, but he has discovered and now openly admits that as he walks away he keeps looking back.
Now based in his rural home of Lupane, Shabulani Village, Cont revealed that even though he misses the arts now and then he has embraced the tranquility of rural life.
“There is so much fresh air out here in Lupane. It is away from the hustle and bustle of town and I must say I am still trying to adapt to new hobbies that are not arts related. I have been longing to have this kind of life for 36 years and quitting was difficult and stressful. But I just have to call it a day,” said Cont.
The renowned playwright says that he has done enough for the arts industry to rest on his laurels. He added that he is proud of the work he put in that led to the establishment of Amakhosi Cultural Centre, an institution that is proving to be an efficient conveyor belt of good artistes that have stood out.
Cont said: “It’s time that we now pass it on to the next generation and for me it is not really painful. I must admit that I am still contacted whenever people need my advice and I still know all the activities that happen at Amakhosi Cultural Centre.
“All I want is for those who want to make a name for themselves in the arts world to use Amakhosi Cultural Centre to their best use as it will contribute to their development in the arts world.”
Cont’s relocation to Lupane is not a media stunt; the man is determined to settle down in the area where his umbilical cord is buried. He is building a house that promises to be a striking mansion. He has constructed four beautiful huts so far.
The multiple-award winning playwright spends most of his time looking after his goats, cattle and pigs, but somehow it seems that the arts he has abandoned have followed him to Lupane. His parents’ home is now being used as a dancing arena by Umchilo Wamakhosikazi, a Lupane dancing group.
“I spend most of my time looking after my cattle, goats and pigs. I have no intention of having an arts centre here. It’s unfortunate that these youngsters have asked to use my parents’ home as a dancing arena and are now taking me back to the arts world,” said Cont with a chuckle.
Asked on why his family does not come and stay with him in the rural areas, Cont said his children only come during the weekends, but do not spend much time, a sign that they still want a life in the city.
Currently he stays with his two aunts, Greter and Maggie Mhlanga.
“They are yet to learn more about the rural life. They only come here during the weekends and always complain that I have not built any rooms for them to sleep in. All I know is that they will adjust to the rural life someday.
“That is the reason why I am building this rural home. It is for the future generation and my family. Just like Amakhosi, I had seen that I wouldn’t stay there for long, but someday someone would eventually take over,” he said. Sunday News