Saturday evening was bittersweet for the Mungoshi family. The family picked up two gongs at the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), making it a total of three that they have won, but pressing hard on their minds and hearts was the urgent need to raise enough money for their father and husband, Charles Mungoshi, to get his operation done.
Mungoshi’s wife, Jesesi, won the Outstanding Actress award for her role in Muzita Rababa, although she couldn’t be at the awards that evening as she was at home looking after her husband. Their son Farayi took home the Outstanding First Creative Published Work Award for his collection of short stories, Behind the Wall Everywhere.
Mungoshi himself won a NAMA award in 2014 for his novel, Branching Streams flow in the Dark.
Speaking to Zimbo Jam about her award and long absence from the screen, Jesesi Mungoshi said she had been working on other things, “Yes, I have been away from the screen for 21 years. I had put my focus more into producing than acting and I have produced quite a number of documentaries over the years. While working on this film, I agreed to appear on a current ZTV series in order to bring back the face of Neria, myself, to the screen.”
“I agreed to go on set on the series that recently got me recognition at NAMA to pave way for my latest offering Makunun’unu Maodzamwoyo, a book written by my husband, adapted for film by my son Farayi and produced by me.”
She said she was surprised to receive the award, “Honestly I didn’t expect a NAMA Award. It came by surprise. The producer of Muzita Rababa submitted my name for the NAMA. I am grateful for the work that the National Arts Council is doing. They are doing their best to bring recognition to the arts and for the nation to appreciate artists.”
Speaking about the current fund raising campaign for her husband’s operation, Mai Mungoshi said she continued to be grateful for the efforts. “I am truly amazed by the response of the people, the world over towards supporting my family to have vaMungoshi back in the theatre despite the economic challenges that people are facing. There are those few individuals who put their hearts into this cause and it is to them I want to extend my gratitude, not forgetting those who are yet to support. May God bless you all.”
Farayi also spoke to Zimbo Jam about his win, “I was thrilled of course. The fact that both my parents are multi award winners kind of subconsciously put the pressure on me to achieve and so when I won, it felt more like, ‘and so it begins.’”
The young Mungoshi said it took him two months to write the book but that the stories had been swimming in his head for a while before that. It however took him three years to get everything into place and get the book published.
He says the stories were inspired by the things around him. “What inspired it [the book] is my surroundings, the way I grew up going to High school and my life in the neighborhood of Zengeza and my experiences in Europe, UK. And because my family is all about story telling it came natural that way.”
Speaking about his father’s condition, Farayi said it was a difficult time for the family. “Yes it is hard. There are times when his contribution is needed, but unlike in the old days he cannot contribute as much, it is painful to watch him try to read a book but failing to do so and giving up after just two minutes.”
Farayi had this to say about the campaign, “The campaign is a noble idea as this whole thing about his illness has gone on too long and considering the failed operation, it is devastating to say the least. Just when you expect to get him back on his feet you discover you still have to endure the hardships of watching him struggle to walk, talk, eat.”
Meanwhile, Mai Mungohi’s sister in Australia has started a GoFundMe campaign to support the fund raising efforts. You can access it here.