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Renowned playwright and filmmaker Cont Mhlanga dies

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Cont Mhlanga

Renowned playwright, filmmaker and creative director Cont Mdladla Mhlanga has died. 

He passed away on Monday morning at a Bulawayo hospital where was admitted ten days ago for an illness. 

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), announced Mhlanga`s death in a statement on Monday.

“It is with a heavy heart and intense sadness that the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Board and Management announces to the nation and the Cultural and Creative Sectors in Zimbabwe and internationally the sad passing on of the legendary Cont Mdladla Mhlanga. 

Cont Mhlanga was admitted to hospital 10 days ago, whilst his situation seemed to stabilize, it took a different turn in the last three (3) days. Cont passed on this morning,” said the statement by NAAC Executive Director Nicholas Moyo.

Mhlanga`s career in the cultural and creative industries began in 1982 when he formed Amakhosi Cultural Centre, which later became a professional theatre in 1988. 

An arts guru, Mhlanga produced the drama series Amakorokoza and Sinjalo and adapted the popular play Stitsha into a TV series, which featured the late Beatar Mangethe. He also directed Bamqgibela Ephila and Omunye Umngcwabo.

Mhlanga also wrote more than 20 plays among them, The End, Sinjalo, Children on Fire, Games and Bombs, The Members and Vikela. He also has three books to his name. 

His play Nansi Le Ndoda was partially staged on the Eve of the World Theatre Day in London this year. Mhlanga and Amakhosi Cultural Centre were also awarded the Prince Claus award in December 2015, an accolade given in honour of Prince Claus of the Netherlands to honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development.

A well-known critic of President Robert Mugabe’s regime, Mhlanga’s politically-charged play The Good President won him an Art Venture Freedom to Create award, where he beat nearly 1 000 entrants from 86 countries.

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