By MUBANGA NONDO
THEIR characters may be comical but they spread messages of real life in all their casts.
One can not help but laugh while watching the locally produced comedy called Mwine Mushi on Muvi TV because of the mischief one naughty character always causes to the village headman.
These actors are Robam Mwape, known as Mwine Mushi and Webster Chiluba, known as Kasaka, the main characters in this interesting television comedy.
The two always cause laughter with their sense of humour during their acts which no doubt has become a house-hold comedy.
Robam acts as a village headman in a village which houses a naughty character called Kasaka.
Born in Ndola, 36 years ago to Ray Mwape and Charity Mwape in a family of 10, Robam attended a number of schools due to the nature of his father’s job who worked in the bank. Robam lifestyle revolves around reading and leads a very simple life. “I am very approachable,” he said.
Suffice to say that Mwine Mushi which translatedas village Headman’ is the brother to actors Clive Mwape who played the role of Mike Mbao in the Ndola produced soap, Loose Ends and his immediate older brother Owas Mwape who played the role of Chembo, Maybin Kabanana’s lawyer in the Kabanana soap.
So from his is evident that the Mwapes are a family of actors who are bent of entertaining people.
Robam played the role of Matongo in Kabanana, he was a replacement for Phakeni Makowane after his brother Owas, who was already in the cast, facilitated a meeting between him and the producer of the soap Lawrence Thompson.
But Robam’s job did not just end at acting, he used to play it double by writing scripts and some episodes of Kabanana along Bob Nkosha of the
Dorika and the Big Dudes fame.
He later got a contract to be in charge of production at the Muvi TV studios on the Copperbelt and that was how the Muvi TV Copperbelt office was born in Kitwe.
He often uses the character of Mwine Mushi to cover up for his inefficiencies.
Whereas, Mwine Mushi is talkative and so quick to give his opinion, Robam is a reserved and shy person who often avoids crowds.
He recalls his most embarrassing moment as being the time when he had a crash on a girl but was turned down.
“I always laugh at such experiences when I sit down to recall them now,” he adds.
He hopes to have a lot of films to his name because filming is what he has great passion for.
“But what interests me most, for some reason, are the Bemba sentiments, (not because I am Bemba of course) but sentiments which
Mwine Mushi uses to express most of the everyday happenings,” Robam said.
He attributes 80 per cent of the deep Bemba idioms that he often uses in the cast to his mother, while some of the gestures that he uses he mimicks his father plus a few others that he has picked up along the way.
“To this effect, I realise that children are mostly affected by what their parents do and say, I say am a typical example,” he notes.
He said the challenge faced during production of Mwine Mushi is when a cameraperson has to abruptly stop filming because there is a lot of laughter that takes place on stage.
“We do a lot of laughing on stage and that makes majority of us go off-set.
So sometimes the cameraperson has to stop shooting because some character is laughing out loudly at some point in the course of the production,”Mwape said.
Mwine Mushi cast is filmed in Ndola’s Chipulukusu area but if one is watching it for the first time, he or she would definitely ask as to which village is depicted in the comedy as it appears real.
Robam and Webster have blended so well with other characters from Chipulukusu Township, a place the duo describe as their village.
“The secret is, we do not appear to be different from the local people when we go to film.
“All we do is to identify ourselves with the local people. We live and behave just like them, hence we have no problems interacting.
“The local people have accepted us to be part of them and we have blended so well with them,” Robam said.
And born in Ndola in 1980, Webster (Kasaka) is the sixth born in a family of seven. He has two children.
Unlike Robam who is shy, Webster is more out going.
He enjoys listening to music and watching movies. He is also a Gospel singer.
“I also sing gospel music with Gabby of the Ichalo chipya besides being his manager.
“I sing gospel music so well that if you listen to my music, you would not resist but sing along to praise the Lord with me,” Webster said.
He said he rarely walks around places without people screaming out his stage name.
And that he was surprised when his four-year-old son told him that he would stop going to school one day because his friends always called him by his father’s stage name, Kasaka.
He gives an account of how he was mobbed by a group of people at a time he went to visit his aunt within in Ndola all in the name of just catching a glimpse of him.
“You see, it has become difficult for me to move because even when you jump on a mini bus, you end up disembarking even when you did not intend to, because you hear people laughing about the performances in the
Mwine Mushi comedy so I end up getting taxis all the time I have to move around,” he said.
Webster said he does not like nshima as perceived by some people but that he enjoys braiis and his drink, (Of course his beer).
But he quickly said he is disciplined to this end.
He said people recommend him to be handsome when they see him in real life adding that he is disguised by the attire he wraps himself in during the cast.
However, both Mwine Mushi and Kasaka have one thing to say-the production of the comedy wears them to the bone because of the facial expressions that they put up during the cast.
“We make faces to portray the aged men and the body language also to depict the aged and believe it or not we get so tired at the end of every cast,” they said.
Webster was discovered by Robam while at Masala Secondary School when he was in grade 11.
“I refer to Webster as ‘my own child’, because I spotted the talent in him at a somewhat tender age,” Robam said.
It was while at Masala Secondary School that the duo started acting together. Webster said he owes it to Robam because he (Mwine Mushi) has been his director to this day.
“You build a character out of someone and on the other hand, I believe that an actor should have certain elements for the character they are playing within themselves.
For one to pull and portray a character, we also use such characters to market a brand,” Mwape said.
Robam gives an example of how the Mwine Mushi concept came about.
“It was initially meant to be an advert for Ndola Lime but Muvi TV executive director, Steve Nyirenda liked it and asked us to build on it and turn it in to a production,” he said
In trying to find the “root cause” of some of the problems that society encounters today, Robam advises the audience not take the
Mwine Mushi comedy so casually but that it should be regarded as a reality which carries along with it messages that have a lot of teachings about real life in every episode.
In simple terms, Mwine Mushi is about realities of life. The little teachings that Kasaka and Mwine Mushi bring on the screen, bundled together, can transform a lot of lives in our society if properly followed.