By Hazel Marimbiza and Nigel Siziba
“There’s nothing you can really do but keep going out there and swinging. Don’t listen to what anybody says except the people who encourage you.”
The story of Monalisa Chisango (37) from Bulawayo, who has been making noticeable achievements in the foreign lands through producing several shows, revolves around such a backdrop.
Growing up Chisango’s first love was acting. If at Eveline High School there was anything to do with drama, year-end concerts you would definitely find her among the cast. This then propelled her to study drama at the University of Pretoria.
Her first breakthrough came when Tsitsi Dangarembwa offered her to work on her film Kare kare Zvako (Mother’s Day). In that same year she got an opportunity to work with Nakai Matema in the Short Film Projects. From these two experiences she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in film, not in front of the camera but behind the scenes.
For her it was about being able to be an influencer, being able to change people’s mindsets, being able to start conversations, being a trendsetter, being a voice to the voiceless, being able to educate and at the same time entertain audiences.
Chisango relocated to South Africa in 2008, looking for new challenges and landed a job at Rapid Blue.
Rapid Blue has successfully produced thousands of hours of television, including international hits like X Factor, SA’s Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, Pawn Stars, Dragons’ Den, The Great South African Bake Off, Four Weddings, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Come Dine With Me.
Working for Rapid Blue Chisango has produced several shows. Who Do you Think You Are? SA’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, Blame it on Fame, The Voice Nigeria S1 and The Voice South Africa S2 are some of the shows she has worked on together with live broadcasts and corporate videos.
Like most successful people’s stories Chisango faced challenges to reach her goals.
“As you are aware our industry is dominated by males and as females we have to work twice as hard as them,” she said.
But this didn’t discourage her.
“Whenever I am given any opportunity I give it my best shot and aim to represent my counterparts (the women) very well,” said Chisango.
She also attributed her achievements to women in the Zimbabwean and South African Industry.
“My story can never be complete without mentioning various women like Tsitsi Dangerembgwa, Jackie Cahi, Rumbi Katedza, Nakai Matema, Dorothy Meck, Kee-Leen Irvine, Sara Blecher and Debby Schulman who have immensely contributed to my growth,” said Chisango.
She had some advice for aspiring female producers.
“Firstly don’t give up, if someone is not going to give you a job create employment. As women we are born as story tellers, we have so many stories that need to be told as a nation. Continue to empower yourself, self-development is key, the world is revolving and we need to know what’s happening around us.”
Chisango recently launched her own company called Monzyice Creations and her show Rebecca Talks is already running. Sunday News.