HARARE – Members of the Masvingo-based Ziya Cultural Theatre Club who produced the popular Sabhuku Vharazipi comedy say their fame has not translated into tangible benefits due to rampant piracy.
David Mubayiwa, the hilarious comedy’s main actor, told the Daily News that a CD pirate even bragged about how Sabhuku Vharazipi had uplifted his lifestyle.
“He identified me at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre and told me with a straight face that he had made it in life thanks to Sabhuku Vharazipi,” said Mubayiwa.
“He gave me $5 as a token of appreciation and claimed that he was now a proud owner of a house and car thanks to piracy.
“To me this was the worst insult I could ever receive.
“I have not even managed to buy a bicycle despite all the toil but some opportunists are making a lot of money by stealing our products.”
To add insult to injury, Wellington Chindare who plays the role of chairman in Sabhuku Vharazipi was beaten up by CD pirates in the town of Mashava after he had confronted them.
“I was trying to stop them from selling pirated discs and they all pounced on me and it was a very traumatising experience,” said Chindare.
“I reported the case to the police and to my surprise they (police) were not helpful despite the fact that I had been left for dead.”
The Masvingo-based drama group, which recently launched Sabhuku Vharazipi 2 in Harare, comprises Chindare and his wife Kumbirai Chikonye who plays the role of mbuya mai John, Mubayiwa and David Dzatsunga.
Dzatsunga, a teacher by profession, said all the group members were now full-time actors.
“We are disappointed because the government is failing to put in place measures that will deter piracy in the country. Piracy is a real thorn in the flesh,” said Dzatsunga.
Dzatsunga said affluent pirates were distributing Sabhuku Vharazipi throughout the southern African region.
“The comedy is now popular in countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Zambia among others because rich pirates are distributing pirated copies of the drama.
“Due to financial limitations we are struggling to produce even a 1 000 copies,” he said.
Last week, the group launched Sabhuku Vharazipi 2, which was premiered in Harare.
George Charamba, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, was the guest of honour.
Charamba said government was determined to end the piracy plague that has hamstrung Zimbabwe’s showbiz industry.