ZimExcellence

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta : Reframing Africa's Narrative (2)

August 04, 2021 CULTURELLE Episode 12
ZimExcellence
Gideon Jeph Wabvuta : Reframing Africa's Narrative (2)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta is a Zimbabwean writer, solo actor and teaching artist based in Los Angeles. He is a 2019 graduate of the University of Southern California MFA Dramatic Writing program. His work as a writer includes Family Riots, Master’s Shoe, and his solo show Mbare Dreams amongst others. He has taught writing in the US, UK, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many others. His work in theater has also included stints as a program’s director and a literary manager. He also works as a consultant, and researcher for tv shows in development. Gideon’s artistic goal is to create works of art that will reclaim and reframe the African narrative on the world stage.

Website: https://www.almasiarts.org
Instagram: www.instagram.com/gideonjeph
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gideonjeph

Resources mentioned:
Celtx (free screenwriting software/app) 

Eclipsed by Danai Gurira*
In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter*   
Father Comes Home From the Wars by Suzan Lori- Parks*

*The following is an affiliate link. If you decide to make a purchase using it, I may receive a commission that helps support the show. Thank you in advance. :)

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Vongai:  I love that it reminds me of a conversation we had last year in June, when we were all kind of like, discussing racial justice, and how to transform Theatre and Film and TV industries. And I forget who it was. But he said, Keep, he said, Have your lists ready. Especially because you're gonna have like, people in the industry or friends come up to you saying, hey, I'd like to employ. I don't know a dramaturg. Who's Black. Do you know of anyone? And then you have the list? Right? You're like, Yeah, I know, five. Here you go. Like, you know, suddenly they're paying attention to us. So when they'll be looking for the Africans, because they want to tell authentic stories, because Netflix sees that there's money to be made here, Disney plus sees money to be made here getting the lists ready.

 Gideon:  Yeah. And that's the thing, we've got to be ready we ourselves with regards to the skill itself. And that's where I am. I was telling those boys I'm working with today. And I was saying to them that look at the trends. Africa is literally one of the few, like with regards to TV and film, where they still a million stories to tell. There’s still a lot of untapped. And, you know, like untapped stories, and the world is moving towards Africa. And because the world is moving towards Africa, it's going to need good storytellers. And if you are ready, right, everything is there for the taking. And that's kind of like where I am really moving forward. Because I've been fortunate enough to be around a bunch of people who've always been like, Hey, tell your stories, we’re there to support. Tell your stories we’re there to support. And it's been good just to be able to do that.

Vongai: I love that so much. So quick question, would you be able to explain to us what A) programs director does and what B) a literary manager is because I myself don't know. So there has to be other listeners who also don't know. 

Gideon :   So a programs director literally, like I work for Almasi Collaborative Arts.  

Vongai: We love them here.

Gideon: Thank you. We love you guys for your support. We really appreciate that. So Almasi we we do a lot of like cultural exchange programs like especially within theater. As the program's director, my job is to create programs for Almasi that allow, you know, cross pollination between US artists and Zimbabwean artists. Like for example, right now we're in the middle of the Almasi Playwrights Conference. So we've got five playwrights, one who is originally from DRC, but lives in South Africa. Then we’ve got a South African playwright. We've got two playwrights from one player from Bulawayo,  two from Harare. And it's been great just to have a, you know, a conference where we're just focusing on playwrights. So my job is just to create these programs that help support creatives, and just offer them whatever it is that they want, if they need space. And then help train directors, help train actors, help train writers. So part of our job. Part my job is definitely to bring in people. Obviously COVID messed up a whole lot of things we were supposed to be doing at the directors clinic and actors intensive for four weeks. But we're hoping that as soon as everything is back up, we'll get back on. And then being a literary manager, what what in your entire job is reading scripts and feedback. 

Vongai :  Love that. I feel like that's another job that I once had a lifetime ago.

Gideon: Yeah, it is. It can be it can be quite a fun job if like, that's like that's what you want. I remember I did when I was in New York, I worked in the literary department and that was one of the jobs I did like just read scripts and write coverage and, and meet with writers for coffee. And I think I learned one of the biggest invaluable lessons from the guy was the literary manager at that time. He was like, you're job is to cultivate relationships with writers. So you're getting on calls with writers you're meeting for tea for coffee with writers. You know that’s literally what your entire job is. And, um, you know, it's it can be quite a good job. Obviously, it's stressful because there's so many playwrights with so many great plays, but there's also so many playwrights who are still developing and getting better. So you kind of have to sift your way through, you know, some works that are still in development. And it's a it's a fun job, it is stressful, it is jobs that I, I feel like I am I especially being a literary manager, it is so tedious that it takes away from my personal writing. So that kind of because I, I am calling you constantly have to be reading every single day. And now because I am transitioning between like theatre and TV and film, it's like, it does take up a lot of time. But it's jobs that I really, really love. And I think I learned a lot about theatre from just reading and giving feedback and all that. Yeah,

 Vongai: Yeah, it's classic tip that the best writers started as readers because then you start understanding what works and what doesn't work and why. And just you, you familiarize yourself with different formats as well. With that said, What is it like working in a TV writers room with a group of writers, as opposed to writing for theater, which is a bit more independent, and you can be like, I'm writing in the park, I'm writing at my desk, but then with the writers room, you're together your family? Yeah. Or so, I think I've never been in a writers room. I'm just assuming.

Gideon: You're right. I had, I didn't. I've heard like different stories of people in other writers room where they didn't necessarily enjoy themselves and whatnot. I was fortunate enough where I was literally the only guy in an in an all female writers room. 

Vongai: Yes WOMEN! 

Gideon: And it was such a good writers room. I do not want to lie to you. He was such a great writers room. And the other thing that made it great was because it was it also was made up of a group of people that were had come from theater like Jocelyn Bioh was one of the writers.

Vongai : Love Jocelyn ! 

Gideon : I know she's amazing. Ngozi was one of the writers. So it was such a great writers room with a bunch of really great writers. I don't want to lie. It's such an enjoyable process. I constantly say that. I learned more in that room about writing and crafting stories, more than I learned in all my three years in college, not saying that college is bad. But to see stories being broken down in action by people who've been doing it for years and years and years. It changes your whole perception because as you're in school, you're learning things theoretically, yes, you are writing, right? But you're learning from books you're reading, but then to get to witness just a story being broken down and how kind of like, you know, some of the writers I remember there's a writer, Kay Oyegun who was in the writers room would constantly be like, no, but like network TV, like this is how they would want they want our characters to be moving forward. So what is the act of moving forward? So it's those things where I got so much gold from the writers room, I learned so much that the stuff that I am now coming back here and being able to translate to other people are things that I learned when we when I was in that first initial writers room. It was like it was such a joy. And it was also tough. I don't want to like it was such a tough job because I was working I think about 18 hours and I was in school. So I would have to sometimes miss class and have to catch up with school it was it was a whole mess. And I remember it was at the time when I was in production for my final year show. So it was trying to balance out everything but it was such an invaluable experience that I would never like swap that for anything it was it was so invaluable.

Vongai : That's amazing. That makes me think of like with acting. There's only so much you can learn in acting school or if you take a BA in drama at you know an institution like the academic route. It's actually like doing the thing that you you learn more it's like this. I feel like it’s the same with filmmaking, especially because like a lot of filmmakers will be like, get it get experienced firsthand. If you can volunteer on sets do this do that. Because even the landscape and the way we are telling stories is changing so quickly in our industry. So the book that was written in the 1990s was cute back then, when it was giving an analysis of Cheers and maybe Seinfeld and Frasier. But now we're dealing with the Orange Is The New Black and Dear White People, and House of Cards or whatever example of like, the way that that's, you know. Netflix has shifted, shift literally shifted the whole game because we're having television shows being approached as if they were films.

Gideon :  Yes. 

Vongai : And then you had all the film directors coming to TV. And then you had the film stars saying, Oh, I think I can do TV, because now you can have an Apple series. Let's say The Morning Show for five episodes versus network TV in the United States was like 22 to 24 back episodes. It's like saving people money just to make six. Yeah, and and you know, then you can have talent, who say that their rate is 2 million an episodes I'm talking about the Reese Witherspoon's and the Kerry Washington's I love them. But like that's their rate. Versus network television where your rate is like $35,000 an episode, depending who you are, you know, it could be more if you're, you're a big name. Okay! What do you wish more people were aware of when it comes to life as a writer? Because I feel like there's this thing where people are like, yeah, you should, you should sit. I mean, I am a writer. I don't do it enough, because I'm more of an actor. But people will be like, yeah, write your own stuff, do this, you do that. And understanding that life as a writer isn't easy. It's almost more difficult. I see it from my perspective than being a performer is because you get rejected so many times, and you're pitching this and rewrites that. And would you like to, you know, shed light on that? 

Gideon: Yeah. I mean, being a writer, it's I feel like it is, I do feel like it is a little bit tougher. I don't think it's something where I'm like getting stuff or being an actor or being a writer. I I'm not sure I don't know. But the biggest thing that I realized is, in film and TV, you know that even in theater, you know that you are not in control for a lot of the process because it demands more than you. Right? So you're only part of the process, so sometimes it can be quite a difficult thing, especially in film, because the writers, you you're easily forgotten in film. Once you deliver your screenplay, you're done. Nobody cares about where you are. But the biggest thing I think about being a writer is just that. I understand. And I'm one of those people who will say to actors, hey, write your own stuff, write your own stuff. 

Vongai : Well thank Gideon. I mean we should, we should. I'm just being annoying. Because it’s not simple. There’s a lot of terrible writing in the world. 

Gideon : That is so true. And I also understand the nature that like certain people are like, I'm an actor, I don't want to write and I understand that. It also makes sense, because I'm one of those people also say, I am a solo actor only if you want me to be in any play with somebody else. I have no desire whatsoever. I just, you know, so I think that the biggest thing for me as a writer that I, you know, I always that I think people sometimes miss is the process itself, that it's, it's a lengthy process that actually requires time investment. And it's a process that requires it is a process that requires you to respect the process. Because I've realized that it's tough for you to tell somebody that Oh, no, I've been writing that play for the past like two years. Cos to them it doesn’t make sense that you can still be writing something for two years, right? And sometimes that lack of respect of the I'm not saying that people should always write their plays for for for two years, but I'm saying some times, if the work demands that beat he returned over two years, then let it be written over two years, if it demands that it be written over six months, like be written over six months, so I feel like a lot of it for me, especially locally in Zim A lot of it has just been like, Hey, we just need to respect the process. And the process does take longer.

Vongai: Yeah, yeah. This is for all the people expecting me to have something tomorrow. My process is taking a bit longer and I also decided to do a podcast. So now the process is gonna take even longer.

 Gideon: No that’s all part of writing. Yes yes. 

 Vongai:  Okay, my last question. Yes. My last question and then our lightning round. You ready for it? Okay.

 Gideon : Ready to go. 

 Vongai : As you know, in the beginning, when one embarks on an untraditional path, like the artists’ journey, it can be exciting but also potentially overwhelming. What advice would you have for someone listening right now who might be thinking, I want to do what Gideon does. He's amazing. He's bomb. I want to be a writer like him, he inspires me. But they're not quite sure where to start. Are there any resources, whether they're books, podcasts, websites, classes, or even like, you know, communities or organizations that you could recommend to them?

 Gideon: I remember I was asked a question a while back by somebody, which I didn't necessarily enjoy, because I understood what he was supposed to mean, when he asked me like, why is it my plays, though? Like, I've read so many people’s plays, why are you so different from everybody else? Right? And I didn’t necessarily like that, like statement, because I understood that it was meant to, you know, to say, Oh, you know, other people are not as good, which I didn't agree with and still don't. But I realized what they were trying to stay in that my kind of writing or my way of writing has always been different, largely because I initially was self taught. I didn't have. Initially, like in my beginning, like for me to start writing. I didn't have anybody to sit me down and teach me how to write initially. And it was because I was just so obsessively interested in writing, I was so obsessively interested in just knowing how to write plays, that I just started reading. I remember the first screenplay that I ever wrote, I wrote it based around the fact that I just went on the internet. And I downloaded a bunch of screenplays, and I started reading them. I was like Oh, so you have to put a slugline. Oh, cool. I don't know what that is, but I'm just gonna put it there. Okay, so this is what it looks like. So what it did for me is I, it gave me a base that when I then started getting a formal education in the arts, right. I it was a confirmation or a correction of things that I already knew, right? It wasn't me starting from scratch. So I feel like anybody who is interested in the arts who is interested in writing, the beginning should not be should never be like ummm. Yes, people should just dive in and write. But it's also important to read as much as possible get those screenplays. Screenplays are free online. 

 Vongai : They are! 

 Gideon : Right? Ask for plays. Read all those dead white guys, you know, they, they help in creating such a basic structure, I always say that we call all those dead white guys classics just because, you know, dead white guys. And the advantage to that is that their work, most of their work is so simple in nature, that you can learn how to write in such a simple way. I would say that if you read an Arthur Miller play, it is simple. There's nothing complaicated about Arthur Miller. 

 Vongai : I love Arthur Miller. 

 Gideon : Like, I'm a big fan of Arthur Miller, like it is so simple. And I think that anybody who wants to be a writer, just write and read and be curious and learn. I always I always tell people that every time that I'm writing a new pilot, every time I'm writing a new play, I literally go back and I watch a YouTube video about like writing a pilot, I go back and I you know, read a book about writing plays or something like that. Or I go back and I read my favorite plays, just to remind myself how, how to be able not that I don't know how to do it. But I always believed that I discovered something new. And it also takes away some of that fear of the blank page. I'm like, Okay, cool. I know how to do this, because I've done this before. And I feel like anybody who wants to get into writing, right, and then read a lot and you're good. 

 Vongai : It makes me think about how if you want to learn about characters and shaping characters, Shakespeare is good to look at because you always have the clear protagonist and the antihero and this and that and the Joker. Yeah. And if you want to deal with like, stuff to do with gender or feminism, I like to look at Jane Austen. Like the Pride and Prejudice. It’s one of my favorites. And I once watched a documentary I forget what it was. Someone had a teacher or maybe it was like, Dr. Dre was mentoring some rapper or something Dr. Dre or Jimmy Lovine. And one of them. And the person was like, Oh, I can't finish this bar. And then the person was like, I dare you to write one word a day. And the guy was like a word. Okay, I can do more than a word. And so then once you just start writing That word then something else comes. So rather than pressure, pressuring yourself to have the page done, be like, I dare myself to write five words, and maybe you write 10 words. And that's still a win. 

 Gideon : Can I give you a trick that has worked for me? 

 Vongai: Yes, please. We're taking all the tricks for our toolbox.

 Gideon: So, uh, you know how, like when you start writing, right, you open your whatever Word or whatever software that you use.

 Vongai: Celtex it's free. Yeah, yes.

 Gideon: Right. You then there's the blank page. It is right there. It is one of the scariest things because it feels like there is no way you're going. One of the things that has worked for me, it is such a silly thing. But it has worked wonders for me. I always go back to either a script I've written or something. And then I just copy the first like 10, like lines or something. And then I paste them onto my blank page. Right? The act of being able to see written words on that blank page, even if they have nothing to do with what I'm writing has just changed the way I've, I've stopped being hesitant to get into things just because it just feels a little less daunting when there are words all over the page. I have no idea why but it just works for me.

 Vongai: That is game changing. There are moments when I'm writing pieces for articles, or blogs, or whatever. And sometimes I can't find the right word because it's like I love my thesaurus. So I'm like, I need the right word to get the phrase. But because I don't want to stop my flow. Instead of then stopping to then check with the thesaurus. I'll say something, something something and then continue with what the end of the thought was and then keep going. And then once I'm done, then go back to the something something bit and then be looking for the right word, but at least like I've got the gist [of what I want to say]. And it looks bizarre because it'd be like, I don't know, Vongai is an award winning actor and her dream is to something something something to amplify voices and it just looks so bizarre, but then you know, the placeholder of where you know what you're trying to say. Okay, it's time for our lightning round because you're a busy man and I want to respect your time. Are you ready? 

 Gideon : Yep. 

 Vongai : Okay, what is your zodiac sign? 

 Gideon: Virgo

 Vongai:  Ah, yes, organized.  Nice. We had a Virgo moon just two days ago. I'm a Capricorn we're both earth scenes. We are both Earth scenes, which is why we're siblings and we get along. Love this. Early bird or night owl ? 

 Gideon :  Both! I just don't sleep until. Well so I think maybe I should just lay say late because I usually go to bed at like three in the morning and wake up at like seven in the morning. 

 Vongai:  Writing for theater or writing for film and TV. Which do you prefer?

 Gideon: Whoo! Currently it's TV because I think I spend a lot of time writing theater when I was in grad school. So I think that's like right now I'm enjoying writing for TV a lot.

 Vongai: I love it. I can't wait to watch all your stuff. Okay, last song that you listen to, or or it could be what song helps you get into the writing mood. Gets you going and pumps you up. Be like yes, we’re going to do this thing. Ah, that is a little tough right now. Okay, last song you listen to.

 Gideon: Okay. All right. Cool. So right now I literally have been obsessed with I don't know if you watched Bob Burnham's. inside. 

 Vongai:  I did. It was so good. And you can get the thing on Apple Music Spotify. I'm not sponsored but the album is there and go watch the it's his stand up at home kind of docu series that he did special. And it's on Netflix. Netflix is available in Zimbabwe, in the US, in the UK. You guys have no excuse. 

 Gideon: Yes everywhere in the world. So I've been obsessed with the album because I feel like it really does speak to me. And I love one of my favorite things is that song 30. And all my stupid friend by having stupid children. So I literally took a picture of my daughter. Like she was she was literally sitting by the TV and I took a picture of my daughter with the caption and I sent it to my friend I was like you see you're stupid friends are having stupid children. That's the album I’m really obsessed with right now. I think that's just such such a beautiful and heartbreaking show. It is so it's just so poignant. And just It is it is such a good show.

 Vongai: Oh, it's amazing because it also touches on mental health. So he Bo Burnham filmed it during the pandemic. So during his own kind of self quarantine in a part of his house, and he just films everything himself different mics, performances, the quality is amazing. My favorite song was he has that song about like, being the straight white guy who's coming to save the day with comedy.

 Gideon: Yes. Yes. Yeah, it was so good. It was really beautiful. Yeah, it is such a good show. And it's been so great. Like, for some reason, I've actually been writing to that album because it really does put me in a in a strange but like contemplating mood. Yeah, just adapted. Has that like 2020 vibe. Yeah, like, inside for like a year, on and on. It has that vibe. Which which, which is I don't know, strangely, I'm just into. 

 Vongai: Yeah, it feels endless. It just, it takes you back to this moment. And you're like, I remember this feeling and that feeling and this feeling. What is the last play you read?

 Gideon: Oh, that's Oh, I was actually, because of the conference. I've been reading a bunch of plays for the playwrights just recommend. I was actually rereading Father Comes Home From the Wars.The Suzan Lori Parks play. It's one of my favourite plays.

 Vongai: So I haven't read that play. But I love Suzan Lori Parks so much. I've been one of the actors in her. So she does an MFA writing class, and her playwrights bring in actors, like real actors who are doing acting. And so I've been an actor for one of the readings for her class. So I'm like, Yes. I love her.

 Gideon: It is so gorgeous. It's an adaptation of The Odyssey. And it is, well, I don't think it's an adaptation, but it's based off the Odyssey in some way. But it's such a beautiful, beautiful, heartbreaking play that I was, I think I was just bored the other day, because I've been so immersed in like writing this TV show. I was like, I haven't read a play in a long time. I need to just read a play, because plays give you they have the ability to drag some of the emotion out of you in such a beautiful way because plays are not depending on pyrotechnics. They’re depending on the words so I just need that that connection and Father comes home from the wars is one of the plays that really really does that for me. And I reread that and that was such a joy.

 Vongai:  Amazing, if you could have any superpower what would it be? 

 Gideon: When I when I was growing up? I always used to say that if I could have any superpower, it would be the superpower to absorb every other person's superpower.

 Vongai:  You were like Silar in Heroes. That's what his power was. 

 Gideon: Yes, I remember. 

 Vongai: Zachary Quinto. Oh my gosh that show.

 Gideon: If I had a superpower. I think I would love to be super fast because I think I so many things every time like I'm obsessed with like, I love superhero shows.

 Vongai: Oh so do I! 

 Gideon: Every time I wash like the Flash and he does like a whole lot of like super fast thing like cleans up his room or does something super fast. I'm like, I wish I could do that. Like I feel like I never have enough time so I feel like if I could do things super fast.

 Vongai: Okay, do you have a favorite superhero or like one that you're you felt drawn to as a child?

 Gideon: When I was growing up? It was definitely the Batman. Batman was my favorite. I was obsessed with Batman. I was just and I stumbled as Batman I stumbled onto the Batman comic by mistake. I think my one of my cousin's brought it to my house and he forgot it and I swear that really knows obsessed. But my favorite to this day still Spider Man. I just I just love Spiderman.

 Vongai: Yeah. So growing up Batman was my favorite. Just and and you know, I might get people are gonna judge me for this. But my introduction. My introduction to Batman was George Clooney’ s Batman. Where Schwarzennegger plays Freeze. Because it was always on when I was a child, and so I just watched it and I was obsessed with it. And Uma Thurman was Poison Ivy. Yeah, she was so dope. So I liked Batman because of that, but like now as an adult, I'm very very team Marvel. And so Captain America is. Yeah, yeah. Yeah,

 Gideon:  No, that makes sense. Um, I'm now obsessed with I've added over the past like, two years or so I recently got into like, I was never into fantasy and science fiction. I have no idea why but suddenly got into it. I'm like obsessed like magic. Dr. Strange. 

 Vongai: Yeah. Do you know what you would really like? This is me giving you a recommendation that you did not ask for. But The Magicians is great. And Sera Gamble, who is the showrunner. She's just such a great writer and on Instagram. This is for all the right other writers and upcoming writers. She puts up writer's tips on her like Instagram story. So she has like highlights on her Instagram page about just different writing things. Her writing is like, I can't even explain it. It is so bizarre but so exciting. And just so interesting. She is the show runner for The Magicians, which just ended and she's also the show runner for You. So she she takes a lot of novels and then has them adapted. But like the sense of humor is just like, Whoa, and just the character like I can't explain it if if you've seen either of those shows like the writing is just fantastic. Fantastic. She is like my queen in my head. And so I follow follow Sera gamble because I'm like, wow, to write something that doesn't feel like it's been done before. And her as a person is very interesting because I think someone asked her Where's your favorite place to write? And she was like, my favorite place to write is under this tree in the fairy realm while I sip this this this. She's just such a character. Amazing. Okay, favorite Zimbabwean musician?

 Gideon: Oh, it's so i think that's that's a little tough question for me because I think I obviously I love the like I like the Mtukudzis the Winky Ds. All that right? I think I'm more into this. My favorite Zimbabwean music is this literally unknown writer. His name is called Mwenje Mathole. 

 Vongai: Yes, let's put him on. 

 Gideon: He does this like Afro pop is like just looking out looking up. His music is really really beautiful. I love a Feli Nandi I just think she's she's so good. I love Holy Ten. I just think that he's I mean with regards to like young hip-hop heads like in Zimbabwe he’s just killing it. Um, yeah, I love a lot like Takura I love a lot of like young musicians. There's like pop musicians. Who else ? Who else. Who else.

 Vongai: I'm learning so much. 

 Gideon: I just like this, like, musicians that like, you know, I stumbled upon because sometimes I'm just on YouTube like who has released a song I'm just gonna look up something and I always find this really good stuff.

 Vongai: Oh, that's dope. I like keep in touch with like, so I only started last year because of the pandemic. But like keeping in touch with like, Who's hot and who is an amazing musician who also happens to be Zimbabwean. Whether or not they're based in Zimbabwe or not. And so MADEINZWE curates this playlist and so that's how I keep up there. 

 Gideon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got the I got it on Spotify. 

 Vongai: Yeah, I listen to like what sounds nice to my ears. Okay, cool. This is dope, because I'm very picky. 

 Gideon: You're just like me, I am quite picky because

 Vongai : We are siblings!  .

 Gideon: I'm serious I am so picky with my music. I go on that playlist and I'm just favoriting the stuff that I like. Everything else, like I do not struggle to like press next. I skip songs like

 Vongai:  Oh, same. I don’t feel guilty. Yeah, I would do it to like a white artists or non Zimbabwean artists. So Today is June 18. And I forget when this episode is gonna come out, but like, possibly in August. But today Shungduzo’s album just came out, and I'm really loving that she's written for a lot of pop artists like famous ones that you know, and her stuff is just very, like alternative and indie. And so I love that. That is awesome. Yeah, so check out Shungudzo. It's called. I'm Not a Mother, but I have children by Shungudzo. Oh, and it just came out today. All right. What is your favorite Zimbabwean childhood snack?

 Gideon: Okay, do you remember there were these pack of chips called Chip sticks. 

 Vongai : [gasps] YASS. Oh my gosh, I see it in my mind and they're like little French fries, but not and they’re literally sticks. They were so fun to put in your mouth. Yes. Well not fun. Well, they they look fun, but they're annoying to eat because you want to have the potato chip in your mouth but it’s so light so you have to put as many in your mouth as possible.

 Gideon: Yeah. I love chipsticks I was I was obsessed with chipsticks. I recently found out they came back. And I haven't found them. But then I found out that they are not as good as they used to be, which is a little disappointing. 

 Vongai: Aw let down. Mazoe orange versus Mazoe green. [chuckles] This is my favorite. 

 Gideon: Orange! Everyday! Orange every day and twice on Sunday!

 Vongai: And if you weren't a writer, solo actor, literary manager, all of the fabulous things King, you are a king. What do you think that you'd be doing?

 Gideon: I will probably still be into some writing, I'll probably be a journalist. I think I'll probably be a journalist I would still be into. I don't I have never been able to envision myself in something that is not writer-y in some way, I think I would be a journalist or be a novelist or something.

 Vongai: Oooh I like that so much. You can still be a novelist though. 

 Gideon: Yeah. It is so hard to write novels is true. 

 Vongai: One day, your memoir your autobiography. Okay, the next is a power statement that you fill out the blank. I am Zim excellence because blank. 

 Gideon: Okay, I am ZimExcellence because I believe in the power of us, as people being able to grow and improve and grow in the strength of what we have and what we can do. 

 Vongai: Amazing. If you could nominate someone for the award of ZimExcellence. who would it be? 

Gideon: I do not know why I was thinking about about her. I just think that we don't talk about her enough. When I was growing up, do you remember? Mbuya Mlambo she was this radio. She's this old woman and she was she was a radio DJ. Like, my generation. Like we're literally raised on her ever like, I remember I would come back from school and she'd been on radio. You could call into radio. She would do like little lessons a little fun storytelling. And lately I've just been thinking about her and I was like, why did we not talk about her?  

Vongai: You’re meant to write a play. 

Gideon: I know, right? I know. I know. Cuz Yeah. Cuz I was thinking about, you know, how, how they did the movie with Tom Hanks. Mr. Rogers, Mr. Rogers, it’s a nice day in the neighborhood. Yeah. Yes. So I thought about that. And I was like Mbuya Mlambo, literally our version of Mr. Rogers. So I was like hah that could be a fun story to tell.

Vongai Aww ,I missed that. So I moved to Zimbabwe when I was eight years old. And so yeah. And like, it was just a lot of culture shock for me. So I probably missed, because my parents probably didn't know that was a thing. But that's amazing to hear. If you could nominate someone to come on to Zim excellence podcast, who would it be?

Gideon: Have you had Joe on this podcast? 

Vongai: Not yet. 

Gideon: You haven’t had Joe Njagu.  I think you should it would be great. 

Vongai: Yeah, I think it's gonna happen. I've spoken to him about it. Dope.

Gideon: I was actually talking to him earlier on. I was like, Oh, I'm doing this podcast. And it's like, oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think it would be great. think he is one person within the Zimbabwean Film industry, not to saying that other people haven't been doing stuff but like, he is one person who has been able to kind of like create a catalog of like, you know, films that have been able to be showcased all over Zimbabwe. And that's, that's been great. I always think that it's great when you know, Zimbabwean content is out there and people are getting to see a different view of what this country is.

Vongai:  Amazing. Mbuya  Mlambo, you have officially been nominated for the award of ZimExcellence. And Joe Njagu, you have officially been nominated by Gideon Jeph Wabvuta to come on to ZimExcellence. As we wrap up, I would love it if you could share a message, anything that's like on your heart, and let us know where they can follow you just the platform because I have all your details in the show notes.

 Gideon: I think the biggest thing I guess is this is like mostly Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans that there is a need for us to tell our stories, there is a need for us to invest in our own stories. I was I was talking to a friend of mine and I was saying to them, you know that the biggest and the best thing you could ever do is just pick one One young actor who just needs mentorship and mentored them throughout the year by one, it doesn't have to be a lot. And that's I will continuously say this that the biggest and the best thing we can always do for our countries to be able to give back to the young people who probably and might never have the opportunity to have the really expensive education that we afforded, and the opportunities we're able to have. But we can be able to share the skills that we have. And I think my message is just to have that burden just to have that burden to say that this knowledge that I have, like I can be able to pass it on, I can be able to share the skill that I have, I can be able to pass it on, I can be able to share. You can reach me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Gideon Jeph, I'm Gideon Jeph across literally everything. That's me.

Vongai: Aww thank you so much Gideon, I'm definitely gonna have you back because there's so many things that we have to talk about, especially to do with your plays touching on like I said, the themes of Western Christianity versus indigenous practices and what that means and what you touched on about going to an all boys school and me going to an all girls school and why we don't agree with that and just many other things under the sun and, and why we tell the particular stories that we're choosing to tell and what that says about our upbringings and also Zimbabwean culture at large. So I definitely want to have you back. We'll figure it out. 

Gideon : I would love to. Definitely

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