BULAWAYO is known for always producing fresh talent. Every year the city churns out superstars who go on to conquer local, regional and international stages.
Report by Own Correspondent
One such talent is Mbonisi Gugulethu Mahonondo, an actress, fashionista, fashion editor and budding television host. Mbo Mahocs, as she has branded herself, is a second-year Architect student at the Bualwayo Polytechnic.
The multi-talented Mahocs fell in love with arts way back in secondary school, where she used to participate in school plays.
“I went to a boarding school and because of lack of entertainment, we used to entertain ourselves. I fell in love with the arts then,” the 25-year-old Mahocs said.
Her first role on a theatre stage was portraying Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany. As a determined actress, she took up the role and it was to be her entry point into an industry she has fallen deeply in love with.
Along the way to self discovery, she has had to endure a lot of pressure from different directions and points out pressure from her family as having been the most difficult. Her parents were not keen on her taking up arts as a career and they tried all they could to dissuade her.
Her mother had to move her from one school to another, but somehow the passion had been ignited and there was no stopping it.
The economic meltdown in Zimbabwe forced her to join the great trek to South Africa to look for a job, and like most people it was a difficult time of her life.
She worked on odd jobs to make ends meet. But as fate would have it she somehow found her way back into the arts industry.
“I got myself a scholarship. They were promoting women who wanted to study film.
“I lied to my parents who were not keen on me pursuing an arts career. So after studying for one year, I was forced to come home,” she explains.
Back home, the bubbly Mbo Mahocs enrolled for a diploma in Architecture at Bulawayo Polytechnic and although she didn’t enjoy it at the beginning, she says she has grown to love it because it gets her creative juices flowing.
With her film and theatre background, it did not take her long to break into the professional theatre industry. She has since featured in a one-woman play titled The Really Stupid Things Men Say which was written, directed and produced by Mgcini Nyoni.
The play was part of the theatre programme at this year’s Harare International Festival of the Arts.
A fashion enthusiast and trendsetter, Mahocs was approached by a group of young entrepreneurs who wanted to start a youth magazine.
“I was approached by TeamDeck, a group of young guys who offered me an opportunity to be a fashion editor in their magazine. They said they were inspired by the way I dressed.
“At first I thought I could not do it, but I decided to take up the challenge. So it has been an amazing journey and it is an honour to be a part of Deck Magazine,” Mahocs said.
Working in a male-dominated industry, the hazards of the job have not spared her, but she remains unfazed in her journey to reach international stardom.
“Women are said to be the weaker sex and they are suppressed. There are certain roles that society thinks are reserved for men.
“If a woman produces quality work, it is not taken as seriously as that of a man.
“There is still that stigma in our industry,” she says.
Like most arts practitioners, she hopes to conquer the international stage and raise the profile of women artists.