Well known Zimbabwean actress Jesesi Mungoshi popularly known as Neria has challenged the government to support the local film industry for it to flourish.
Neria, as she is popularly known, was speaking during a visit by Acting Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Paul Mavima and Deputy Minister Tino Machakaire at her Chitungwiza residence yesterday. The Ministry paid a courtesy call to the legendary actress and donated some foodstuff as part of the Covid-19 relief fund that was launched last well.
The relief initiative is aimed at bailing out artists and sports personalities during the Covid-19 lockdown induced period. And in her appreciation message, Jesesi said it is time the Government takes the idea of funding the film industry seriously.
“We can only grow when our projects are being supported by the government. You mentioned my legendary status but what is the Government doing to that, back in 2007 I addressed the media on the same issue when they came chasing this name Neria.
“If the Government is supporting us, the corporate world will also come in. I made this call after a tour of the Netherlands and we were discussing how their government supports the film industry.
“So they (were) getting about 10 per cent of the whole budget and if that happens to our industry, it will go a long way,” she said. Jesesi said as it stands, there is ‘no film industry’ in Zimbabwe. She said a number of actors in the country are living a life that does not reflect their status and called for action for that to be addressed by the relevant authorities.
Jesesi said it is unfortunate that a number of youths see her as a rich person following her role in the film Neria and other films she has featured. “We can’t really say we have a film industry in Zimbabwe if you had one you would have seen a nice car parked outside.
“Young people see someone with a lot of money when they see but that is not the case. This name Mungoshi, in the eyes of many people, is associated with good life. “Right now my phone was stolen when I got into a Kombi but you are here saying you have visited your legendary icon.
“So I think the government should come in and support this industry for us to make it and live a meaningful life. This goes to writers and filmmakers, I think musicians and sportspeople are better.”
Jesesi also spoke of how Covid-19 forced her to delay some of her projects. “Before lockdown, I had some projects lined up. I had received a phone from Nigerian producers who wanted to work with me and I was supposed to sign a contract on the 29th of March and they had made me the main character but it has been delayed.
“It’s unfortunate but the good thing is it’s in the pipeline because they have sent me a birthday message and I hope to continue with it when normalcy returns,” she said.
Minister Mavima described Jesesi as a national treasure and that they saw it fit to kick start the bailout initiative with her. “The name Neria represents a legend in many ways and that film continues to be a benchmark in the country.
“The good thing is we came to a place where legends live, talk of the late Charles Mungoshi that is why we are here. We came here as a government, not that you are in need but just as our efforts to help artists and for the people to know the importance of our artists,” said Minister Mavima.
Deputy Minister Machakaire said his ministry would take into consideration the issue of sponsoring the film industry. “We will definitely look into that. We listen to what our artists say and as a government, we will go and sit down to see how we can help. “A viable film industry is also good for the country,” she said.