The Sunday Mail
WHEN Operation Restore Legacy was initiated leading to Robert Mugabe’s resignation as President of Zimbabwe in November 2017, many were left wondering about the behind-the-scenes activities inside the former leader’s ostentatious mansion known as the Blue Roof.
Wonder no more!
Your thirst to know “what really transpired”, is about to be quenched through Charles Austin Theatre’s stage play at Harare’s Theatre in the Park this Wednesday. Titled “Operation Restore Regasi”, the show sold out when it opened in Masvingo. It will be in Harare from March 28 to 30, and tickets are selling like hot cakes.
We spoke to Charles Austin Theatre artistic director, Khetani Banda.
“Written and directed by Nama nominee Charles Munganasa, the play gives a comic account of the events which took place inside Blue Roof. Though most of the action is based on imagined events, the story is guided by actual occurrences which took place during that week of suspense,” says Banda.
Action starts on the night the military announced, via ZBC-TV, that they had moved in to arrest a deteriorating national security situation (Operation Restore Legacy), and moves on to Mugabe’s resignation.
Banda says, “‘Operation Restore Regasi’ was inspired by the need to create a culture of documenting events for the benefit of future generations. Zimbabwe has a lot of stories to tell but there is no support for writers and producers to tell these stories through theatre and film.”
He applauded President Emmerson Mnangagwa for promoting free speech.
“The fact is we can tell this particular story freely and we hope this is the beginning of an era where freedom of speech is encouraged and upheld. I cannot really prophecy what the future holds but regardless of the environment in which we will live as artistes I urge my fellow brothers and sisters to always speak out.
“Whether it is a phase or not, we will keep expressing our beliefs. However, our present president seems liberal and we salute that.”
The cast consists of seasoned and upcoming actors; Khetani Banda playing the role of Robert Mugabe, Carol Magenga the “insane” Grace Mugabe, and Munganasa as the no-nonsense General Constantino Chiwenga. Other actors are Whilsy Dereck Mapfumo, Donovan Takaendesa, Sydney Taivavashe, Rose Zivanai, Marayne Mtetwa and Tatenda Makava. The production comes to Harare a day after World Theatre Day — celebrated globally on March 27 every year.
According to the International Theatre Institute, the day is a celebration for those who see the value of theatre and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its importance and potential for economic growth and development.
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and its affiliates, as well as other arts organisations and promoters have lined up activities throughout Zimbabwe to celebrate the day.