Legendary arts and creative director Cont Mhlanga dies

By Yolanda Moyo

VETERAN playwright, film maker and theatre director Cont Mhlanga has died.

He was 64.

The sad news was confirmed by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) Executive Director, Nicholas Moyo saying the nation has lost a legend who was instrumental in developing the arts industry.

“It is with a sad and a heavy heart that we as announce the loss a legend in the arts and creative sector. The board and management of the National Arts Council has been asked by the family that we announce the passing on of Cont Mdladla Mhlanga. Cont has been instrumental in the professionalisation of theatre in Zimbabwe. He started his work in 1982 and transformed Amakhosi Performing Arts into a giant in theatre. He was hospitalised 10 days ago. However in the last three days the situation worsened,” he said.

Known for his professionalism, Mhlanga was also the founder of the Amakhosi Theatre Productions Company which was formed in 1982.

Amakhosi started off as a youth karate club before it turned professional in 1988 giving birth to Amakhosi Performing Arts Workshop (APAW), which produced theatre plays written and directed by Mhlanga.

In 1995 Mhlanga went on to establish the country’s first privately-owned cultural centre located within the boundaries of the townships, now popularly known as the Township Square Cultural Centre.

Many will remember the late Mhlanga for his plays among them Sinjalo, Children on Fire, Games as well as Bombs and The Members.

Mhlanga also has three books to his name and adapted the popular play Stitsha into a TV series which featured the late multi talented artist Beatar Mangethe.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.