Actress looks beyond borders
By Bongani Ndlovu
After winning the Outstanding Theatre Actress in the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) this year, Charlene Mangweni says she is now eyeing the international market.
Mangweni won the accolade last Saturday at the Reps Theatre in Harare. Last year Mangweni was one of the three nominees for NAMA’s Outstanding Actress in Television award.
Mangweni has starred in series and sitcoms on ZBCtv such as Revelations (2015), Conflicts — Season 1 (2015), Sins of the Father (2016), Dirty Necklace (2017), Conflicts — Season 2 (2017) and Pedyo Kure (2017).
In theatre Mangweni has featured in the play Incidents that premiered at the Harare International Festival of the Arts last year.
The other plays where she has taken part include Fences (2015), The Elephant Man (2016), The Good Woman of Setzuan (2016) and The Venus (2017).
This year seems to be going right for Mangweni as days before her NAMA win, a film that features her as one of the leading roles called Love Is Not Enough, debuted on DSTv’s Zambezi Magic channel 160.
At that time Mangweni said her role in the film fell directly into her plans to break into the international market.
The Bulawayo-born beauty says after winning the NAMA, her options are now endless.
“I want to get more work on the regional and international market, both for film and theatre.
“I feel theatre is the mother of acting. Being an actor means I’m versatile enough to do both film and theatre because I got into theatre to enrich my skills as an actor,” said Mangweni.
She said looking back last week she could not believe that she had won the award and as such she even forgot to thank her family.
“I was taken by surprise at winning the award as I was back stage doing voice overs introducing people who were handing over the awards. I was really surprised when they announced my name. My heart was racing, I had no time to even cry. I even forgot to thank my family during my acceptance speech which got me into trouble at home,” said Mangweni.
A journalist by profession, Mangweni is multi-skilled as she is a voice over artiste, a news anchor (for ZiFM Stereo) and is into advertising.
Mangweni however said her passion is being on stage.
She said although the arts are looked down upon by parents, she was getting a lot of support from her family and called on other parents to support artistes especially girls.
“I wish more parents could support their children in the arts in order to help nurture their talents. My number one cheerleaders are my family members and this encourages me to work even harder,” said Mangweni.
Some parents do not want their daughters to pursue the arts because of reports of sexual abuse in the arts industry.
Women in the arts industry such as singer cum dancer, Sandra Ndebele have come out in the open confirming that sexual abuse is rife in the showbiz industry.
Mangweni said the major weapon against abuse is being principled and parents on their part should have trust in their children.
“Setting boundaries for yourself as an actress does the trick in most cases. Sexual abuse is common in every industry and we need to fight it as women.
What is important is to value yourself and have confidence that your telent is good enough to take you through. No job is worth being a victim of abuse,” said Mangweni.
Mangweni described herself as reserved person saying she does not go out much and this is evident from pictures she shares on her Instagram account which are mostly of her at work and not much on her personal life.
She however said she is in a ‘committed relationship’.
“It’s two years this year. He’s a Gweru-born music producer based in Harare,” she said
Elegance is one of Mangweni’s many attributes and the dress she wore on the NAMA awards night was provided by Nomathemba Ndebele’s Posh Store in Harare.
She received many rave reviews about the dress . The Chronicle