He has been in the arts for some time now. Show buzz has certainly become one of his source of livelihood. He loves stage,he loves seeing artistic and creative imaginations at work. We set in the door step of the popular National Art Gallery in Bulawayo as he narrated his love for drama and art giving us his biography which has so much to emulate. He is among the 3 musketeers behind the first ever fantasy horror film to be produced on Zim Soil his creativity is beyond imagination.
We welcome you to Gani Phiri’s world.
Born Ganizani Phiri on 4 March 1978, he is a veteran in the performing arts having come from humble beginnings in the tough ghettos of Bulawayo. At the tender age of 12, he fell in love with the performing arts because of his interest in the complex literary works of William Shakespeare, which he longed to learn and understand. Fate however dealt him a bad hand as at the age of 13, he was forced to drop out of school in form one due to his family’s financial situation and thus lost his chance to continue studying his beloved literary works and plays.
With no access to any more of his books and no one to teach him, he resorted to the public library, where he would go and read Shakespeare’s works on his own in his spare time. He also joined a local drama group where he would go and watch some members of Mellow Drama and Isibane Sezwe doing rehearsals along the railway line near United College of Education (in a bush shed). A year later when he managed to get back to his academics for O-level, he was already into the arts full time, thanks to the late Mike Sobiko who had offered to take him for extra performing arts lessons in 1989. Gani trained with the then N.A.S.A (Nostalgic Actors and Singers Alliance) which was under Sobiko’s directorship.
He later worked on various developmental projects in the arts and between 1990-1992 he worked with Iwisa Theatre Productions on AIDS awareness projects that saw them engaging various players in the private and public sectors in teaching people on HIV and AIDS in schools, companies, and various institutions nationally. Between 1993 and 1994, he joined Grassroots Theatre Company as they used the performing arts to embark on an environmental awareness campaign to rural communities around Zimbabwe. In 1995 Gani started his own performing arts marketing and management company called Abangane Arts Project (Friends of the Arts), successfully managing and identifying several community based drama groups and marketing them to schools and various community centers.
In 1997-1998 he worked with Umzabalazo Theatre Company under the directorship of Styx Mhlanga in association with a British organization using the performing arts to educate rural communities on the importance of the girl child, her education and her future.
Until 2013, he has been based in the United Kingdom, working tirelessly with various performing arts groups in and around Europe. His most successful project saw him working with people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse issues.
Percy soko, Mhle Nzima and Gani Phi- rEBEL fILM pRODUCTIONS
In 2014 he came together with fellow filmmakers Percy Soko and Mhle Nzima with the common desire to produce a feature film in Bulawayo, where he felt not enough productions were being made. This was the beginning of their co-produced movie Moonlight cross.