BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Amakhosi Theatre Productions founder Cont Mhlanga, who died on Monday aged 59, has been described as a Zimbabwean arts legend whose works will impact generations to come.
Mhlanga, a playwright, author, actor, film maker, creative director and media entrepreneur, died at a Bulawayo hospital after he was admitted 10 days ago.
Bulawayo City Council described him as “a legend in the creative industries, who began his career in the arts and karate at a young age and is known for the formation of the Amakhosi Arts Centre, Skyz Metro FM and Breez FM” in Victoria Falls.
“Cont Mhlanga was awarded the civic honours on the 18th October 2002 in recognition of his role in the introduction and subsequent development of theatrical art in Bulawayo, particularly the setting up of Amakhosi Theatre Production,” city mayor Solomon Mguni said in a statement.
“This was in recognition of the fact that community theatre became world renowned and was a great tool in the marketing of the culture and inspirations of the people of Bulawayo.
“Civic honours are awarded to citizens who have rendered long and meritorious public work in the city or had brought distinction to it.
“The resolution to award civic honours was made on the 3rd July 1963 and Mr Cont Mhlanga became the 67th recipient joining other citizens, who had brought distinction to the City of Bulawayo.
Mguni added: “Mr Mhlanga was a visionary and pioneer, who spearheaded many projects in the creative arts industry and was instrumental in the formation of the Bulawayo Cultural Affairs Office (BCAO).
“He was a Bulawayo citizen at the heart serving the city and championing the telling of its story through arts, film and theatre and spearheading a number of projects with great leadership, passion and excellence.”
Former Information and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo also paid tribute to Mhlanga on Twitter where he described him as an “inimitable cultural genius, a legendary playwright, filmmaker, creative director and a grounded political activist whose institution-building legacy is epitomised by Amakhosi Threatre and Skyz Metro FM.”
Some of Mhlanga’s most famous plays include The Good President, The End, Sekunjalo, Amakorokoza, Workshop Negative and The Members.
Former president Robert Mugabe’s regime banned The Good President, which mirrored the late strongman’s iron fisted rule.
Mhlanga through Amakhosi mentored many influential artists in Zimbabwe.
He was also an outspoken political activist, who routinely clashed with the authorities, and spoke fiercely against the marginalisation of Matabeleland.
Chinese-funded power plant expansion project in Zimbabwe set for commissioning
Chinese firm Sinohydro undertook the project, adding 600 MW to Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant.
The project will be commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday.
Zhemu said at a press conference that recent media reports predicting a return to prolonged power cuts after August were false, as Zimbabwe is now guaranteed adequate power supplies in the short-to-medium term.
He said Unit 7 is already feeding into the grid after the successful completion of tests in June and is now commercially available for operation. Unit 8 is also undergoing a similar test and is expected to be available commercially by August or September this year.
“So there is no way that we are going back to the past where we used to experience long hours of load shedding,” Zhemu added.
Five die in Binga traffic accident
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
A Stallion Cruise bus overturned in Binga on Sunday morning killing five passengers on board, police have revealed.
According to witnesses, the bus which was travelling to Bulawayo was reportedly speeding when the accident happened.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the bus overturned and landed on its roof in the Sikalenge area between Siabuwa and Binga centre.
“The ZRP confirms a fatal road traffic accident which occurred on 16/07/23 in the morning near Masumo Bridge, Samende area, Binga in which a Stallion Cruise bus travelling from Siabuwa to Binga overturned,” Nyathi said.
“The ZRP confirms that five people were killed whilst the number of injured is yet to be ascertained.”
The bus reportedly veered off the road at a sharp curve near the Masumu River bridge at around 7AM.
The accident comes barely a week after the same bus caught fire in Mutare on July 11 and all passengers escaped unharmed.
Zimbabwe declares its own load shedding over, but locals are sceptical
Zimbabwe’s government on Tuesday announced a sudden end of blackouts that have crippled businesses and left millions of households without electricity for up to 19 hours a day.
The information ministry said a cabinet meeting had “noted with satisfaction” that the power utility “has announced the end to load shedding as a result of the interventions implemented” by the government.
The statement did not give details of the steps taken to end the load shedding.
The southern African country has for years been reeling under severe power shortages.
They worsened late last year when the main electricity supply, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam in the north, suffered very low water levels caused by recurring droughts.
In March the power utility company said it had launched a new 300MW coal-fired unit with Chinese finance in a bid to ease repeated power outages.
But Zimbabweans greeted the news of the end of outages with scepticism, as some said they were sitting in the dark as the announcement was made.
One Zimbabwean @sammie541 tweeted “funny (be)cause we actually don’t have…(electricity) now”, adding her Harare neighbourhood had been without power since Monday.
Other Zimbabweans questioned on Twitter if the announcement was not strategically timed ahead of national elections due next month.
The country goes to the polls on August 23 to elect a president and legislature.
Eighty-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced strongman ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017 after a military-led coup, is seeking re-election.
But he faces a disaffected population that is battling hyperinflation, poverty and high unemployment.
Official figures placed inflation at 175.8% in June, up from 86.5% in May, but Johns Hopkins University professor of applied economics Steve Hanke believes real inflation in Zimbabwe is more than 1 000%.
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