One may wonder how she balances all that somehow she just does. She is strong and dedicated, and nothing can really bring her down. That’s just her lifestyle. Lifestyle and Travel editor (Charmaine Mudau) met up with this lady powerhouse for a little chat. The lady powerhouse is none other than Tsitsi Gumbo (TG) popularly known as Mcmisst Tsitsi Gumbo (Miss Tee).
CM: Who is Miss Tee?
TG: Miss T is an actress, MC, poet and high school teacher. She is a mother of three ( 11year old boy, 10 year old girl and 8year old boy). Miss Tee is turning 33 in May. I refer to myself as “musalad” because I am Shona by birth and I was raised in a Ndebele family so I have a fair fusion of the two.
CM: Take us through your artistic journey.
TG: It all started around grade 5. I would re-enact favourite movie moments in front of the mirror. My desire to perform couldn’t be nurtured very well because back in the 90s, performers were associated with loose morals. I couldn’t even suggest my interest in being a performer because of fear of rejection. Fast forward to 2004, my first year at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).
I was doing Theatre Art and nobody could convince me against performing until I got married under customary law and was literally banned from performing. When that union failed, I sought relevance again and in the arts which resulted in me being cast as the lead role in the play Untikolitshi written by Nonhlalo Dube and directed by Styx Mhlanga.
CM: Bulawayo Arts Awards (2017), Outstanding Actress; how has that shaped your career in the industry?
TG: The award improved my CV. More so it helped me qualify for a new Master of Art by Coursework and Research Report degree, with a regional university of repute. I’m more confident in my abilities and have been challenged to do more. I am currently working on a bio-play.
CM: How is it being a mother, wife, teacher and actress?
TG: Being a mother is awesome. It’s amazing to have these innocent souls look up to you and love you unconditionally. It really puts pressure on me to try my best to be a better person. Initially I used to feel like kids are a setback but now that I have mine to show through life , it feels like an honour. I do find however that sometimes because I am a teacher and discipline other people’s children, I then set the bar too high for my own and am very strict with them.
Sometimes we have our own talent shows at home where everybody does poetry, dance and singing and each of the three conveniently win one of the categories (laughs). Another challenge is that I MC at these shows and also judge and I can find that sometimes I work late nights and the youngest always gets finicky but he has come to understand that mommy will be working and sometimes he critiques my outfits before I leave.
When all is said and done, he makes sure he sends me away with a kiss. It’s really hard balancing everything; the idea is to give all duties their time. I can have piles of marking on a Friday and have an evening show that same night, then have a film shoot or play rehearsal the next day and poof the weekend is gone.
CM: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey so far?
TG: My biggest challenge in the industry is fear .Fear of charting unknown territory. I think there are plenty opportunities out there but not enough females making waves so it gets scary, but the time has come to face my fears because nowadays we have plenty support from the males in the industry so as women we just need to maximise on that.
CM: Any future plans?
TG: Future plans include the establishment of LIDA (Lifted International Development Agency) that targets young girls in rural remote Zimbabwe as active players in the shaping of their own destiny using theatre to communicate.
Bonus Read: Between MCing and Acting. What would you choose?
TG:Both lol. Acting stretches my creativity and MCing sharpens my intellect because I learn to think on my feet so both