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Interview with Thlupego Chisiza – Director of Lions Theater

Capital Radio Straight Talk – with Brian Banda, 22 December 2011

1. Met his biological father Du Chisiza Jnr after 14 years

2. Was introduced by his mother when she was about to commit suicide after

some problems with his husband – the then father of Chisiza

3. Met Du Chisiza Jr at his house in Nyambadwe at 3pm on 3 November 1997

4. Father died after a year of meeting in 1998 in December

5. Had been acting since 3 years in Sunday school

6. Started Lions Theatre in 2001

7. Why Lions? To be a lion amongst all theatre groups just like a lion is k

ing of the jungle and everybody knows about it

8. Is there a future in stage acting? Ye I has but many actors make mistake

of going into acting to make money. You need to get established first and money comes in later

9. Do Malawians appreciate theatre? Not all of them – some underrate us

10. Society without theatre is a dead society – other issues need to spoken th

rough theatre

11. Du Chisiza Junior had high standards towards acting. Are you going to su

rpass that? Yes I will despite Du being a rare breed

12.

Du was tough, very creativity and people still remember his plays of 199

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13.

Du was serious with his productions – he would rehearse a play for 2 month

s – he was very professional

14. He still has Du’s plays and watches the DVDs and they are

15. Did Du do well as a politician? Yes very well. He could stand and speak

for the truth. He was able to criticize Kamuzu and Kamuzu feared him.”Who is this Du Chisiza?” Kamuzu would ask

16. Will you go into politics as well – Yes but not now. I have the political

background.

17. I am not a hand clapper. I would go into politics to represent my people

72 plays

and not make money as other people

18. Politics is not ok currently in Malawi. Is only favouring the rich

19. Tell us about your play – SEMO – its set in a country called Kwacha Kwayera

20. Did you send your script to Censorship Board? Yes I did but did not want

to argue in court that’s why I simply said am sorry – in court – [pleaded guilty]

21. I have done another play before called Zokotozokoto which was set around

Nachipanti and authorities did not do anything about me

22. Manganya did Loto la Farawo and authorities did not arrest him. They onl

y briefly stopped him and advised him to change some areas and it went on

23. I will make sure SEMO gets permission because the play is about what is

happening in Malawi and Malawians need to see it

24.

I would not mind if they arrest as long as I know I am speaking the trut

h

25.

Going through your promo for the staging of the play which you flighted,

towards the end there is mention of being arrested. Did you anticipate being ar

rested? Yes, I knew they would interpret it in a different way and try to stop m

e from staging the play

26. Now I wonder if they are going to arrest all actors/performers as in mus

icians as they have also spoken about issues in Malawi. Will they make a follow

up?

27.

Like for Michael Usi, are they going to arrest him for staging Liwu la

Farawo which spoke about issues in Malawi

28. Do you consider yourself a fierce critic of Mutharika? I used to like hi

m before but not now

29. That’s why I spoke through this play to the DPP regime so that when they l

isten to it they should change some other things

30. I speak the truth and I wish if his people after listening to the play,

would carry the message to the President as that is what Malawians are currently going through

31. How did the Police treat you in prison – quite fine except for few instanc

es when fellow inmates asked me to pay K500.00 to access the blanket and sleep o

n it otherwise would sleep in the toilet

32. I was in cell no. 1 and I am doing another play on it

33. Take for example the reason why I was arrested and translate it into Chi

chewa “Amangidwa chifukwa chosatenga chilolezo chofuna kusangalatsa anthu” very bad in deed

34. I spent the whole night in the cell asking me I was arrested

35. How soon are you returning to the stage with SEMO? Depends on Censorship

Board but I look forward to 2 weeks there about

36. If asked, I will amend the play accordingly

37. Did you get any support from fellow actors when you were under police ar

rest? Yes, they came to visit me in prison and they spoke against my arrest. My

grandmother also visited me in prison and was with me at the court and said I sh ould be released by the end of the day and I was.

38. Did you do all this to raise your rankings? No, am not a bootlicker, I w

as stand by the truth

39. Should we say your rankings have gone up? Yes, definitely

40. Why did you not challenge your arrest? Wanted to come out and not stay o

n until the whole process is concluded but come out and be able to give them the script again and allow people watch it

41. Are politicians sponsoring you? No, its coming in from other projects

42. What projects? I run taxi business and o politician is sponsoring me

43. Are you following Du’s steps? Yes and I get the inspiration from him. He e

ven told me to go into acting

44. Are you married? Yes, with kids as well

45. How should Malawians remember you? As a fearless man and not a coward, s

omebody who spoke the truth only. end