12 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Acting Does Not Pay - Arineshto

When popular actors like Safirio "Mukadota" Madzikatire, Philip Mushangwe popularly known as Paraffin and comedian Simon "Mutirowafanza" Shumba were gracing the small screen every week, Gibson "Arineshto" Nhema was busy learning the ropes of the trade, waiting for his turn to wow television viewers with his famous Chibuja dialect.

He would perfect his acting skills through entertaining a group of disabled Mashonaland Holding employees.

"It was prior to 1983 when I would be hired to entertain the workers who would be commuting from Harare to Ruwa where they would be making electrical gadgets.

"I would actually entertain them in a staff bus," said Arineshto.

His seven-year stint with National Breweries from 1983 saw Arineshto pursuing his acting and comical skills and was a hit during breakfast and lunch hours.

"Fellow workers would encircle me, listening and laughing as I dished my bag of tricks. I would turn the company canteen into a theatre," Arineshto added.

For the next decade, Arineshto would go around schools and parties performing.

His moment of glory came in 2000 when he burst into the limelight with a local drama called "Chidzidzo" and since then, he has never looked back.

"The advantage of television is that people recognise you even in the most remote parts of the country.

"They begin to appreciate you more than when they hear your voice on radio. I have acted in many dramas for radio and television which include 'Maimbodei', 'Munombodei', 'Idya Cheziya' and 'Nhamo Yekuroja'."

The talented actor said acting was no longer paying and had since resorted to vending.

"For the past eight years, I have been operating my stall for tomatoes and other vegetables to supplement my income," he said.

Arineshto said he had also abandoned a new drama they were shooting because of lack money.

"We were in the middle of shooting our latest project when the owners of the computers and cameras took their gadgets and we were left with no option but to abandon the project. It's so frustrating," he said.

Born in Hurungwe in 1956, Arineshto dropped out of school when he was in Grade Four. He joined the great trek to Harare then Salisbury to find employment. However, he could not run away from what he termed his calling.

"I wanted to find a paying job but I found myself acting more. It was what I loved and I could not run away from it," he said.

The actor said his wish was to see artistes particularly actors being rewarded handsomely like football players.

"At the age of 56, I don't have a place to call my home, acting is not paying. Why not have all the fields pay equally. Football is paying relatively well," he said.

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