TERENCE MISELO writes
As the Zambian film and television followers continue to appreciate a variety of local productions showing on DStv’s Zambezi Magic Channel 160, there has been encouraging feedback and analysis on various social media platforms.
Fans, critics and people of all walks of life have taken their interest and reactions of what they are watching to social media mostly to give updates, share pictures and comments of these local productions.
Popular shows topping this media frenzy are ‘Zuba’ and ‘Mpali’, which run on weekdays one after the other.
Interestingly, this scenario or level of public analysis reveals a number of Zambians are watching locally-produced content and have a say in what the producers and writers have exposed them to. The battle of analysis has mostly centred on ‘Zuba’ and ‘Mpali’ proving the two are the most viewed in Zambia.
These social media users have taken the debate of which production between Zuba and Mpali is better and representative of Zambian culture. The discourse has gone has far as analysing storylines, language use, cast wardrobes as well as technical issues such as sound and picture quality.
‘Zuba’ branded as Zambia’s first telenovela has been seen to be popular amongst the youth but still highly appreciated by people of all ages. Its modern attachment to cultural values with a touch of western influence makes it easy to relate to the youth. The diverse use of local languages mainly Tonga, Chewa [Nyanja] and Bemba makes it even closer to home. But as a telenovela, it has its own exaggerated style and sometimes drifts away from what one may consider truly Zambian.
On the other hand, ‘Mpali’ takes that deep traditional and modern balance of Zambian culture. Centred on family relations, it is very popular among the adult age but yet has something to offer for the young at heart. Like ‘Zuba,’ it brings out various themes ranging from deceit, hate, love and betrayal.
Whether one prefers ‘Mpali’ to ‘Zuba’, the greatest achievement is that Zambian productions are now being fully appreciated, the National Association for Media Arts [NAMA], in charge of local films has observed.
NAMA president Lottie Siame says his association notes with concern the level of discussion and analysis around the two productions but warns producers, filmmakers and key players to leave that debate to the general public as their involvement would divide the industry.
“We are happy that Zambians are able to discuss local productions on social media. This is a good sign as it now shows our different works are being appreciated. We however think, specific players in the industry must not engage in this debate of which production between the two is better. Doing that, especially by the same makers of the productions will lead to divisions. Let us leave this to the general public,” said Siame.
Zuba or Mpali