‘Don’t men cry?’

14 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
‘Don’t men cry?’ Lady Tshawe

The Sunday News

Bruce Ndlovu Sunday Life Reporter
NOMATSHAWEKAZI “Lady Tshawe” Damasane wants to tell stories.
For most of her life in the arts, she has been a shining star on stage, dazzling with her array of talents that have seen her excel in everything from dance and poetry to theatre and television.

In 2019 however, she got a taste of life behind the scenes when she wrote and directed the play 6.55, a play shining the light on mental health issues. Since then, Lady Tshawe has returned to the stage, but she has never forgotten her ambition to see creatives come to the forefront, telling authentically Zimbabwean stories.

As she returns with Kum Nyama, a production that is expected to debut at Sabela Studio on the evening of 9 December, Lady Tshawe will be tackling abuse against men and mental health.

The play, written and directed by Lady Tshawe, will star Mehluli “Gomez SamaDube” and John Mabuyane.

“It is a two-hander, so the cast is going to be made out of two people which is John and Gomez. However, there are going to be voices of other characters coming out and I will roll out those voices as a surprise but the cast is just two people,” Lady Tshawe told Sunday Life.

While some might express surprise at a woman helming a play that looks at the abuse of men, Lady Tshawe said she did not see anything wrong with people from across genders showing concern for their counterparts who find themselves in dire situations.

“I know as a woman, there are those that will ask why a female is talking about this and my response is to ask why men also advocate against violence on women. If men can do it then women can also speak on behalf of the men and boys in our communities. It takes a village and we ought to look out for each other.

That’s why I have tackled this because it is a topic which is not usually spoken about. For me, I just want to start the conversation and then let people continue the conversation within the right structures and organisations,” she said.
Lady Tshawe said she had noticed that violence against men was a topic that was often never touched upon.

“Because I’m always one that advocates for stories that are not usually heard or spoken about, that’s why I took this on. My first production was a story based on true life and looking at mental health.

This one is also more or less like a continuation of that because there’s also mental health involved and it also looks at abuse. When we speak about gender-based violence, we are usually speaking of violence taking place against us females. I have always advocated against abuse on us women but I have also realised that in silent corners men are being abused.

Most of the time we don’t see it and we don’t hear it but we have men walking around carrying pain on their shoulders because they have faced abuse in one form or the other whether it’s in the office or at home,” she said.
Tshawe said the play, written and conceived during a global pandemic, had not been easy to bring to life because of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, she said this had not deterred her from pursuing the goal of putting creatives on the map by putting them on the front seat of major productions.

“I think the challenge or the difference from the first production to the second production is obviously having to deal with Covid-19 protocols. Also, one thing that has made me want to continue taking the behind-the-scenes role and not be seen on stage more is because I believe we all have stories and Zimbabwean stories need to come from us, the creatives.

Those stories need to be heard and to be seen and what better way to do that than by taking the risk of writing and producing. My strength has always been in creating stories through poetry and the characters that I have played. I thought it would be great to take those strengths and utilise them in showcasing the talents of other amazing theatre actors and creatives,” she said.

Share This: