Zimbabweans at home and all across the world have been recently marinated by the pure talent in a web-series titled "Wadiwa Wepamoyo" which has been on YouTube and Patreon for a couple of weeks. The plot, set in Harare, follows a young man, Tawanda, who falls in love with a young lady (Noku) and their love story has recently turned sour as Noku's ex-boyfriend has come back onto the scene. I have personally been impressed by the acting and cinematography, but the most striking character for me, like many others, is Tawanda's friend - Biko - who is the type of friend that one would hope never becomes scarce in the world.
Played by Dillon Mafukidze, Biko is probably the best type of friend Tawanda (played by Everson Chieza) can ever have. While Tawanda and Biko all come from the ghetto, they both have a dream to see Tawanda eventually going to play for Manchester United in the United Kingdom. Biko is Tawanda's manager in his budding soccer career. He helps him train. He looks after his interests. He also seems to be brains behind all the finances and the scheduling of their lives.
I will admit that I honestly never think about how to encourage others on the subject of friendship because I have been blessed to have really great friends all my life. I know now how hard this for some people to actually get good friends. What is striking about the friendship between Tawanda and Biko is that the two are seemingly different, yet they as close as friends can be. Biko has a huge appetite. He is always ready to eat...something. Tawanda, in contrast, seems to have your average ordinary appetite. Biko seems to have the philosophy of "no woman, no cry" — thereby he isn't shown to have any love interest, and Tawanda definitely sees a girl who steals his heart and he is deeply in love with her.
Biko is seen all throughout this season showing up for his friend.
We see him pushing him to pursue his dream.
We see just how happy he is when Tawanda is happy, and how sad he is when Tawanda is sad.
We see how frustrated he gets by anything that frustrates his friend.
I want to pull from Pastor Timothy Keller's Yoda mind on this subject of friends from a 35-minute sermon he preached from Proverbs 17:17 , and help us to think through how we can build and deepen our friendships. The principle behind Keller's thinking on this subject is that friendship can not be forged, but it can be discovered. Keller identifies 4 Cs that define a true friendship.
Let's look at them and relate them to Tawanda and Biko's friendship:
Keller says that a friend loves at all times. What does this mean? It means all kinds of times. Good times and bad times. You can’t be a good friend without availability. Being there when times are difficult and when times are easy is the first mark of friendship.
Biko is the type of friend who has remarkable constancy. He is always there for his buddy in all seasons. He borrows him his clothes and shoes when needed, he sells his own shoes so that his friend can have soccer boots to play, he also defends his friend from the bully, Yaya.
Its a cool scen in Episode 4 seeing Biko on the phone with Tawanda, telling him about the trials. Tawanda is worried that he would need soccer boots for the trials, and Biko insists that Tawanda should not worry about that as it was his (Biko) problem!
In the sermon, Keller further asserts that a friend is emotionally sensitive to the inner topography of the other's life. If I can be happy when you’re sad I’m not your friend. When you’re sad, I’m sad; when you’re happy, I’m happy — that is true friendship. A friend gives the gift of emotional connection voluntarily.
I cannot think of where this is chiefly demonstrated than when in Episode 3, Biko is about to sell his shoes to the street mogul, Blah Mose, and Tawanda appears before the deal is sealed. Biko is sensitive enough to know what his friend needs in the moment, and he cuts the deal so that his friend can use his shoes to go and see the girl he is chasing. He does not let his anger at Tawanda at this point to clog his love for his friend.
A friend is someone who is a truth-teller, says Keller.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love or faithful are the wounds of a friend.
This means that words that your friend needs to hear those things that are going to be painful to hear but they need to hear them. On Episode 1, Biko is super disappointed at Tawanda's performance in their training session, he kicks the sand and he exclaims:
Man Tawa, Furgeson will not buy you if you keep missing like this!
Covering the truth out of “love” is the work of an enemy, and is not a mark of friendship at all. We see Biko also been open about how he feels Tawanda is losing focus when Noku comes into his life. We need those kinds of friends! We need to love our friends so much that we tell them the truth that will help them.
A friend is someone who is transparent with you; it’s someone who is regularly reassuring, as well as challenging, Keller notes. A friend is someone who demonstrates the balance of both encouragement and rebuke.
This idea is the very essence of Biko's character in this show. He is Tawanda's counselor, come what may. He is clearly consistent in re-assuring him and also calling him out when he is going out of line.
We all need a Biko, and we all should be a Biko!
Kudos to the folks who are putting this together. It certainly has given me great hope for the future of cinematography in Zimbabwe. While I did not mention most of the other characters in this article, I want to clearly note what a great performance they have shown thus far.
Rambai makashinga hama dzangu!