Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
A play that highlights the plight of teachers in Zimbabwe is on the cards.
The play Mbalisi Balis’ ungabalisi, loosely translated to ‘Teacher teach, don’t complain’, is based on a published text by Godfree Muyambo.
It has been turned into a theatrical production by Naughty by Nature Productions to try highlight teacher’s struggles.
The cast which is hard at work rehearsing, features a practising teacher at St Bernard’s High School – Hlosokuhle Mhlanga alongside veteran actors Zenzo Nyathi and Gift Chakuvinga. Completing the cast are Mandisi Ndlovu – a student at Creative College of Arts and Bathabile Dlamini – a television presenter known for her role as Zinkabi in the award-winning play Umbiko KaMadlenya.
Mbalisi Balis’ Ungabalisi’s writer, renowned playwright Thabani Moyo — a teacher by profession, said the play, premiering next month, seeks to show how teachers have become discouraged.
“The play shows how low the teachers morale is, especially in Government schools. They feel trapped within their profession and are desperate for a miracle to happen,” said Moyo.
He said the play is set in a typical staff room where there are varied characters.
“In the staff room, we find different shades of teachers, the hungry dedicated teacher, the drunk frustrated teacher, the dealer-teacher who trades in currencies, the tuck-shop owner who finds the market within learners, the corrupt administrator who abuses school property and a revolutionary who believes enough is enough, the employer must be faced head on.”
Since the teachers are struggling to make ends meet, according to Moyo, they have become the butt of jokes in society.
“In a set up where the teacher isn’t paid well, he becomes the butt of every social and economic joke.
“The low of the low in society are found making jokes of the professional teachers. The play highlights how teachers are made to feel pathetic by their former students who’ve ‘made it’ in life,” said Moyo.
In all this, Moyo said he wants to highlight the danger of having such a scenario at Government schools.
“The entry window into the story is the situation in local public schools because this is where the children of the poor majority get their education.
“These are the schools where poorly paid and incapacitated teachers are found.”