By Melusi Manabe (MM)
I have been always fascinated by the ARTS and as kid growing up watching television and theatre I wondered how these people could transform into someone else. I remember as a student in Mzingwane High School I would marvel at IYASA doing their ‘magic’ on stage whenever they came to our school. Award season was and still is my little heaven, seeing these great woman and men are getting acknowledged for their mastery just is amazing.
So recently I came back to varsity to finish my degree at the National University of Arts and Technology (NUST) and I was so excited it would be sharing classes with a National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) in 2015, Bathabile Dlamini (BD), I just had to have an interview with her. So I sat down with her to know how it felt being on that stage and what the NAMA award has done for her.
MM: Hello Bathabile how do u do
BD: Hellon Melusi How are (chuckles)
MM: So I would like to ask u a few questions about your NAMA experience and what it has done for u like in your acting career and profession. How was it like getting nominated for a NAMA and going on to win it.
BD: Well getting a NAMA nomination was a surprise and it was exciting, it was something that really made me realise that I am born for this (acting). The Nomination on its own was more than enough, so going on to even get the award, was like an exciting moment for me , I remember when I was walking towards the stage I almost fell. I hoped to get the award but I wasn’t really certain that I would get it. So it was something that made me realise that this was me, it was something part of me .Theatre or rather acting is something that I cannot leave I have to continue doing it.
MM: Before we you got nominated or went on to even win it, how was the support from your family in your acting career?
BD: Okay great. I announced the nomination to my mum and for the first time she came to watch me on stage.
MM: interception: was this after getting a NAMA
BD: No before getting a NAMA, and I remember she actually burst in tears and was actually shocked that it was me on stage. She said it didn’t seem like it was me on stage. It was the first time she had seen me on stage and she was actually impressed. Naturally she was also the only person I told about the NAMA because she put and effort to come and watch me perform on stage when the play was showed during Intwasa. So I would say she has really been supportive, though it was like the first time she actually realised that acting is a part of me and she was supportive.
MM: So what lessons would you say you have drawn from winning an award?
BD: I would say you keep learning and never stop. Because I remember during the ceremony it was amazing I met people who have really done a lot in the Arts Industry, women who are so influential in the arts industry and are determined to make a difference through art. The assumption is that when someone is deeply into arts they are not productive in the community because Art is not really appreciated in Zimbabwe. But to be honest what I took away is that you get to learn more and as you learn you get to improve on your skill and on your talent.
MM: After winning a NAMA where you determined to do even better or did u emerge as a better version of yourself?
BD: After I achieve a certain goal I set a goal to achieve something that is greater than that because I believe it’s never great enough. There is always something greater in me or someone else. Once u achieve as a goal set another one. So getting a NAMA award made me realise that I could do even more. I have been involved in a few productions after that because school is demanding. I am now on my final year and they are a lot of commitments that I have to prioritise in order to get my degree and probably get into acting fulltime. (She is doing her final year Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Media)
MM: So besides acting what else have you been doing, did the NAMA open up other avenues?
BD: I got an opportunity to be interned in the USA I was nominated for the global exchange program. It was a nomination that came about through winning a NAMA. The application involved me having won recognition from my society through programs that I was involved in. So me getting that national award allowed me to get a nomination to represent the University and country in the states?
MM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time in the arts industry?
BD: I see myself everywhere (Chuckles). I want to travel the world I want to experience the world. I just want to meet a lot of people. I just want to help my community in the best way I can through the experiences I would have gained through travelling the world. Because you would realise that after coming from the USA I came back at NUST and started Student RUNET a radio and television club. I had realised that as students we are theory oriented and come attachment and even employment we don’t even know how to use a camera or editing of which these are the skills we need to acquire whilst you are a student. So I see myself as an influential member in society, and obviously rich (laughs)
MM: Do you see yourself switching from theatre acting to television?
BD: Actually these two cannot be separated, because in television you play a role and in TV you do the same thing. It’s all about getting your mind to know that you are now dealing with a different kind of audience.
MM: Okay thanks Bathabile and good luck on your future endeavours
BD: Thank you.