“The bicycle thief” is here Experiences from an actor…

Dancing is one of the most sought forms of entertainment. We dance in victory, we dance in happiness we dance for fun. In some of our African societies people dance during funerals and all that makes dancing an art without boundaries. We have seen films with themes of dance we have loved them, we have followed and liked them.

It is today that we are left with 30 days before the release of a film written by Sanelle Sibanda a US based Zimbabwean filmmaker and David Chodack the writers tackle social issues using dance as a tool to heal a broken society. In 2011 Sanelle came to Zimbabwe for shooting of the film, the cast fused both the young and the old those who were at their infancy in terms of acting came together to work in the project which saw actors go for three months on rehearsal.
The cast never stopped dreaming their persuaded their works with passion and love. Former Amakhosi actor famous for his role in the drama series isithembo Julian Tshuma swapped roles and was behind the grooming of the talents who worked tirelessly in the production of the thief.

The Assistant Director helped by veteran cinematographer Ndumiso Ncube and the late veteran imbube sensation Sam Dr. Mahlaba Banda created a workforce that made young people who were involved in the film love their work. The cast included a number of young people who were breaking their teeth in one of Zimbabwe’s fickle industries. For a month and a half the cast and crew were busy shooting going all around Zimbabwe.

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Sanelle Sibanda in Red Shirt with the cast and crew in USA (San Francisco)

The film started to be filmed in USA before shooting in Harare, Victoria Falls, Sihlengeni Village in Matebeleland South and finally the city were creativity is at its maximum Bulawayo the city of Kings and queens it is in this city that everything was done. It is here that the actors spent hours on rehearsal room, it is here that actors got excited after shooting a scene or two. Breathtaking was the experience butter flies running in  tummies as the crew set up equipment for the shoot. Interesting was it whenever the Props Manager signaled that we were  about to roll the word quiet on set made everyone grim with laughter.

It was after the thief that I saw some take art with passion, I was inspired by how Ronald Sigenca (Zola) became a rising sensation I saw him rise by day. He never stopped to talk about his debut. He called me father whenever he saw me, I remember him vividly when I met him in Mpopoma that he run towards me and I had to go for a distance in my back I liked that we became friends despite our age difference.

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Ronald Sigenca on set of the bicycle thief film

Talking about age differences I learnt how we can easily become a family in such productions, Patrick Mabhena a veteran actor /director who played in so many television productions is one such person I grew closer to and today he is not only a father figure to me but a brother whom we can discuss anything that affects the industry in which we all ventured to. His testimonies about his journey proved to be an inspiration and have kept me wanting to do more in the world of film.

I got the chance to have a chat with Prince Snake Zulu known for his role in the soap Amakorokoza, his artistic ability is something that no man can doubt. Despite the effects of the industry he has remained with hope that one day the doors will open and we are going to see more of him and his works. It is during the shoot that I met Josphat Ndlovu at a more professional level I have always watched some of his works in the sidelines, his theatre artistry is something that gave me an excitement when I was told he was playing the role of my brother in-law I knew I was in for a treat. My brothers Mabhena and Zulu proved to be a force that I emulated.

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Having a chat with Patrick Mabhena

The young people taught me a lesson that indeed dynamite comes in small packages. The smaller their were the more artistic innovation their all gave. We finished shooting in the first week of August 2011 we had a farewell party hosted at one of the producer’s home in Njube. We danced like I had saw young people do in the film some of us who are either shy or at times act as if are older were dragged to the dance floor by excited young people. We made our goodbyes in the late hours of the day, some cried in each other’s arms we had suddenly became a family some exchanged numbers and promised to send each other Facebook requests and become friends, some who were a little bit innovative promised to even follow each other on twitter.

Sanelle made his remarks with thanks to everyone who had took part, I remember his words a film may take longer during editing depending on who is doing the editing and on what is needed like sound effects, if we can use the Hollywood type of a way we may take a year or two or we can even make it three years going through post production. My heart was broken three years that seemed like forever.

With that mind of the thief being a thing that will never come I was heartbroken when one of our producers Alex Solo Mafu passed on. All this happened a few weeks after the shooting. We gathered to bid farewell to a musician, a staunch Bosso fan an academic and a man who loved the arts. I wished if the film was out he could have seen his sweat.

December 2012 will be forever be imprinted with sad realities first it was Sam Banda and then it was Adam Ndlovu, both men have raised Bulawayo’s flag high. The bicycle thief became Sam’s last film project, he worked tirelessly as he helped young people dance and as he gave guidelines in all ways possible. The power of one a film which starred Morgen Freeman saw Dr. Mahlaba play a role in the early 1990’s  as a teacher and I think with that that’s why he played teacher again in the thief. We remember Alex Solo Mafu, I imagine if both of them were here today as we much on to the launch what would be happening may their souls rest in peace.

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Sam Banda(Mr. Khumalo) and Ntokozo Khoza( Mrs. Gumede) with the dance crew.

My imagination is twisted in a way, my heart is filled with happiness, am going around looking for what I will dress,on the day my works get paraded to the world. I wonder who will I sit next to, I imagine what will happen after are we going to get a standing ovation or it will be just one of those films that come and go. My mind is filled with questions on what exactly will happen on August 8 at Bulawayo theatre but what I know for sure is the bicycle thief will premier to the world.

I know for sure because we have secured everything I know without doubt that some will arrive in a limousine. For a day or saw some will be treated to royalty. The moment I talk about this film I always gain goose bumps and butterflies get rowdy in my stomach I believe the film scene will never be the same again. The thief is here the long wait is over…

Many have ruled out the possibility of the thief ever being released until last year I received an email which commanded me to again work on logistics of the release of the movie in Zimbabwe. The email which was titled red carpet event made me want to go all the way.

The bicycle thief calender

August 8- Official premier Bulawayo Theatre Advance ticket @5
August 9-Screnning Bulawayo theater Advance tickets @5
August 16- Chinotimba Hall Victoria Falls
August 20-Book Cafe Harare Advance tickets on sale $5
August 21-Arcadia community center advance ticket on sale $5

Call/App for your ticket bookings 0772 377 796, 0776 406 019 and 0771 233 756…

Kudakwashe Takundwa is a writer/Actor based in Bulawayo and stars in the film the bicycle thief he writes on his own personal capacity.

Trailer of the bicycle thief film…