Today Theatre in the Park in Harare Gardens hosts the launch of “The Return of Timmy naBhonzo” DVD, which is set to bring back memories of yesteryear comedy “Bhonzo Nechikwata” that was screened on ZTV in the early 2000s.
The new comedy, which features the yesteryear combination of Timothy “Timmy” Tapfumaneyi and Lawrence “Bhonzo” Simbarashe, explores negative impacts of social media while it also tackles relationships between employers and employees in a comic way. The new production has many other new characters but the focus will definitely been on Timmy and Bhonzo, with viewers likely to anticipate a recap of yesteryear comic exchanges between the two. Although Bhonzo’s voice has been affected by an ailment that he suffered a few years ago, his actions are likely to speak louder this time around.
Yesterday Timmy went down memory lane to the days of their ZTV series, highlighting the highs and lows of the production. He also spoke about his personal experiences in the acting industry and beyond. “Bhonzo Nechikwata” had a fair share of popularity and a line of its soundtrack “ . . . Timmy naBhonzo vanemahwani . . .” became a common chorus. The episodes came with different themes and Timmy yesterday recalled some of the popular scenes.
He said the episode where Bhonzo is detained at a girlfriend’s house and lies that he is consulting a traditional healer after being spotted at the house remains the most popular among their fans. “It was a mischevious episode but it is still the most popular. Bhonzo’s girlfriend soaks his clothes in order to detain him overnight without his consent.
“Bhonzo’s two wives come to Timmy complaining that his friend has not slept at home. Timmy knows that Bhonzo had visited his girlfriend and he goes to check. “He discovers that Bhonzo cannot leave the house because his clothes are wet and he is covering himself with a wrapper. Unfortunately, when Bhonzo goes outside to kill a chicken in order for the girlfriend to prepare a meal, he is seen by Timmy’s wife Mai Matiwho confronts him.
Bhonzo lies that he is consulting a traditional healer and killing the chicken for rituals. Mai Mati rushes to tell Bhonzo’s wives that come fuming. “After realising that things have turned nasty, Timmy and Bhonzo coin a quick plan to make the traditional healer story appear real. Timmy covers himself with a blanket and begins imitating a traditional healer while telling Bhonzo about his life, which stuns his wives when they storm the house. The wives are made to believe that their husband is actually consulting a traditional healer and they leave him.
The scene was done in an exciting way that makes it memorable. Other funny episodes include the one when Bhonzo plays a security guard and falls asleep on duty. He sells himself out to his boss when he tries to impress him by relating a dream he has just had and he gets fired. Many that followed the episode can also recall how Timmy upset his wife when he told her that she was the only old thing that needed to be changed in the house because all household goods had been changed.
Timmy laughs at the scenes saying people remind him of these and other exciting episodes, although the comedy stopped showing on television in 2002. The comedy had its roots in commercials that the two actors did for a number of companies on Radio Zimbabwe (then Radio Two). Their relationship grew and they performed at a ZBC function where they impressed board members and a request was made to develop their act into a television production. “It began as a fiveminute slot that was screened just before the 8pm news. As popularity grew, there were further requests to make it a full comic series and that is when we recruited more people to come up with a weekly production that ran for 30 minutes.
“We faced challenges of remuneration as things got tough for the broadcaster and mudhara Bhonzo suggested that we stop doing the production. It was a sad end to the comedy because we enjoyed shooting it. Mudhara Bhonzo was always funny on set and sometimes we had to do many retakes because he would make us laugh when we were supposed to be serious in certain scenes.” Bhonzo discovered Timmy when the latter was working as a gardener at ZBC while the former had some commercial slots with the broadcaster. They used the same bus when coming from work and Bhonzo realised the young man would make a good comedian.
After sometime of sharing jokes Timmy was invited to the studio. “I was afraid to go for recording because I was just a gardener and studios were not my area of operation. I was not sure what the bosses would say, but mudhara Bhonzo gave me confidence and said we should just crack jokes as we always did on the bus. We began doing the comic slots for his commercials and that is how the relationship on air grew. I am happy he discovered me because that role contributed to my rise.
” As he was working as a gardener, the actor was also studying for his ordinary level.He sat for examinations and passed five subjects. A vacancy arose within the organisation and Timmy was elevated to library assistant. He continued studying and enrolled at Harare Polytechnic for a national certificate in Library Science that he pursued to higher national diploma level.
He rose through the ranks at work and was library supervisor by the time he left ZBC. He also studied for a degree in media studies with Open University and got experience in the insurance industry when he went to work in Botswana. When he returned home in 2012, he joined Old Mutual where he is currently a sales manager. He is also studying for a masters degree in media studies. Timmy hopes the DVD to be launched today will go a long way in bringing back the humour they created with Bhonzo. Bhonzo has fallen on hard times because of ill health and family disunity and Timmy says the new film could assist the old man raise some income. Timmy says he assists Bhonzo on numerous occasions because of their strong bond