This article in its entirety was first published in the Sunday News.
WHEN one sees talent, be it in sports or the arts, they cannot help but acknowledge the resonance in their hearts at the display of greatness.
Whether we like to admit it or not, artistic brilliance has a way to reverberate in the inner depths of our artistic pallets. This is the feeling that is likely to get when watching this 20-year-old boy for the first time.
Cadrick “Khekhe” Msongelwa, who is doing Upper 6 at Gifford Boys High and doing Pure Arts is probably the next best thing in local arts as he has shown great potential. Hailing from the lively and artsy location, Makokoba, Cadrick has a lot to offer in the whole scope of the local arts.
“That boy is young and is full of potential. He is one person to watch out for”, says veteran theatre director, Thabani Moyo. There is no doubt that the boy is in the fast lane to become outstanding and if what he has been showing on stage is anything to go by he may even surpass great actors who have made names internationally such as Tongai Arnold Chirisa.
Sunday Leisure Correspondent, Bruce Chimani, caught up with Msongelwa and excerpts of the interview are below.
BC: Take us through your journey in the arts and especially as the actor that you are? Where did you start and how have you gotten to where you are?
CM: They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and my journey in the arts has not been an easy one but determination and dedication keeps me going.
I started acting when I was a little boy of about eight years of age but I was not into it and I dropped it at primary school when I turned to football until I got to high school where injuries got my parents sceptical and they refused for me to play soccer. That is really when the acting idea came back to my mind and I again began to be intimate with the arts.
Nowadays, folks tell me of how a great actor they think I am — including at church where I really started — at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church — where I get to be part of some of the Bible-based plays we have.
BC: So who are some of the folks that have really walked with you thus far? CM: My thanks always go to my directors, Raisedon Baya, Memory Kumbota, Thabani Moyo and Elton Sibanda who have taught me to respect the stage and be a disciplined actor. They have also taught me to be humble and respect my fellow actors and actresses. It has not been easy but the support I get from my family, school and Uhuru friends has led me where I am today.
BC: Khekhe, you are relatively young, so what would you say have been some of your greatest achievements so far? CM: My greatest achievements have been with my current school Gifford Boys High — winning all the competitions last year (2014) including Isiphiwo Sami competition, Plan High school Drama Competition and also the Nash Drama competition (which we won for the third time). Also, being a graduate of the Schools Playwright and Actors Academy (SPAA) and part of Centre for Talent Development (CTD) has been great to me. On top of that, winning individual prizes and managing to win all the prizes in competition Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cameo role at various competitions have been high points indeed.
BC: So what are some of the actual productions you have been involved in? CM: I have been involved in some productions both inside and outside school. Some of the ones out of school include The Flat Dwellers with SPAA, Siyaphindela with Four Cousins and Broken Mirrors with New Generation.
BC: I first saw you perform at Intwasa this year, and you were phenomenal in all the productions you were in, especially assessing how the crowd felt in my impromptu investigations about you. What do you think of your roles at Intwasa this year? CM: My roles at Intwasa this year were really interesting for a school going young man like me. I had two roles in Master Harold and the Boys and The Importance of Being Ernest. In the former, my character was a major one and it was my first time playing such a role at CTD and that was an achievement for me and all the thanks to my directors for believing in me and giving me that role.
BC: If I could probe further, what makes this acting thing unique and interesting to you? CM: Acting is unique and interesting to me because its new territory for people in my family — I have never seen anyone pursuing it like I am and it is also special because I believe it is a God-given gift and I want to steward it well. It is also fascinating because when I am doing it, I am free to be myself and I actually zone out from the rest of life and its troubles for a while. I love arts and it’s really what I dream about every day. It is my passion. I also get to learn new things and interact with different people. The acting fraternity is now like a second family to me.
BC: So, where should we expect you to be in the next few years? CM: Expect more of the same thing in the next coming years. My dream is to be in the acting industry — in both theatre and television and I wish to make strides on the international scene too like many other inspirational Zimbabweans who have done so. I want to be cast on major productions on the continent and make a lasting impact.