Actress Nya Uyu, real name Felistus Ngwira, has built her reputation by starring in various comical roles which have mainly portrayed her as a comedian.
But the artist has worn a new face altogether in her latest production The Return of The Vampire. The self-produced and Covid-19 themed short film has seen Nya Uyu assume the role of spiritual protector for the imaginary Vilekeke Kingdom.
Having suffered from the bad effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic, people of Vilekeke Kingdom cannot take it anymore. They turn to their trusted spiritual protector Nya Uyu to get answers and a solution.
The task to pacify and lift the spirits of Vilekeke Kingdom people, who are visibly stressed, rests on Nya Uyu. She knew anything she will say will have the potential to make or break them.
She, therefore, implores them to join her in the cultural vimbuza dance to enable herself connect with her spirits. The barefooted Nya Uyu, clad in her traditional regalia, appears lost in her dance as the singing and clapping goes on in the background.
She then signals for a pause to address them. There is relief among the people as their protector assures them there is nothing strange about what has befallen. She dismisses any notion that it is a curse as people from all over the world are experiencing the same.
In an interview, the actress said the film is a product of a project called Express being championed by Zaluso Arts. Through the project, Zaluso Arts is engaging artists in the country to explain how Covid-19 has affected them.
“I decided to answer by not sitting down and explaining but rather present it in a way that can easily grab everybody’s attention. The short film is trying to raise awareness on the virus in a creative way,” she said.
Nya Uyu said she had to take on board members of Music Crossroads whom she partnered with to help her with the vimbuza dance.
She said: “I trained for months to master the dance. I have followers who don’t know what vimbuza is and have never watched the dance. This is one way of selling this part of our culture.”
Zaluso Arts director Mac Ndalama said the Express project is being done with funding from Open Society Initiative For Southern Africa (Osisa) and is designed to give Malawian artists and content creatives to produce works inspired by Covid-19.
The movie can be accessed on all Nya Uyu’s and Zaluso Arts pages.