Going down memory lane with Tiki

By Colette Musanyera

Patrick Chiroodza, who rose to fame before independence after playing the character of Tiki in “Tiki Adventures” might be in his 70s, but is not out.

The 72-year-old actor reminisces how the comic Tiki Adventures used to light up Growth Points and schools in the 1970s, when films were still a new phenomenon in rural areas.

“I was the main character in the Tiki series. I started featuring in Tiki films in 1970 at the age of 20. The films were shown in remote areas through mobile cinema which was the Ministry of information’s initiative,” he says.

Chiroodza featured in 11 Tiki short films, bringing to life the character of a very naughty young man in episodes which include Tiki the Waiter, Tiki and The Stolen Suitcase as well as Tiki Learns to Drive, which was a favourite of many.

“Tiki was a very mischievous boy, but in the end, he was always outsmarted by the white man. I featured 11 films which includes Tiki learns to drive which was loved by many.”

Unknown to Tiki, the films were used to further the white man’s colonial agenda.

“I have now come to the realisation that whites portrayed themselves as superior beings, while blacks were depicted as dumb. It never crossed my mind that I was being used as a tool for spreading the colonialist’s propaganda,” Tiki says.

Despite his popularity, the actor did not realise much gains from the productions.

“I was paid very little and I wasn’t asked to sign any contract. What I earned did not match with my popularity.”

Tiki might be in his 70s, but he is not yet out and his appearance on ZBC TV’s “Zvazviri” drama series is testimony to that.