On Friday, Malawi lost one of its respected names in theatrical circles when veteran actor Frank Patani Mwase succumbed to Covid-19.
Mwase is considered one of the country’s theatre greats following his unmatchable exploits during his time with Wakhumbuta Ensemble Theatre (WET) under the stewardship of late Du Chisiza Junior.
Together with Chisiza, the two formed a great combination at WET which is yet to be paralleled years after the outfit folded. Following his death, tributes have poured in from some of the country’s known names in theatre.
Actress-cum-filmmaker Joyce Mhango-Chavula reacted to the shocking death with a tribute shared on social media: “Oh dear Lord! Those meetings will never be the same again. Those artistic intellectual conversations will no longer be the same again. Rest well elder! Rest well legend.”
One of the actors, who closely worked with Mwase is Jeremiah Mwaungulu whom he nurtured from his early days at WET. He described Mwase as the ultimate professional and a theatre genius that Malawi may never have again.
“WET was well-known because of Du, but those of us from the inside knew what Frank brought to the table at WET. That is why when he left to form his own Force Theatre, Du had to plead with him to come back. His understanding of theatre was second to none,” he said.
The actor said apart from his contributions on stage, Mwase will also be remembered for the role he played in nurturing young talent and his involvement in the establishment of the Theatre Association of Malawi.
He said: “I remember two years ago when we were restaging Du’s De Summer Blow. After weeks of rehearsing, the team still felt short.
“We asked for his help and the changes that he made during our final session reminded everyone what an accomplished director he was.”
Until his death, Mwase was hosting The Bar on Mibawa TV. He is survived by a wife and five children.
According to his wife Patricia, Mwase was born in 1968. He came from Chituka Village, T/A Malengazoma in Nkhata Bay.
He was laid to rest at Misesa Cemetery in Blantyre.