Maseru – Actress, writer and film producer Violet Avoid Gonamombe Madzikanda dreams of one day working with the legendary Tyler Perry.
The Zimbabwean moved to China in 2013 to study International Film Directing at the Beijing Film Academy. She graduated in 2019 and has been running Avylet Studios in that country since then.
“I love Tyler Perry’s work. It has been a motivation and will continue to be. I especially love the story behind his success, the resilience despite the failures and above all his faith in God,” Violet said in an interview with The Southern Times Arts this week.
“If I were to meet him today, I would tell him about my desire to work with him. Since he is a multitasker, that is scriptwriter, director, actor among others, I would really appreciate some coaching since I am also a multitasker.”
And it is that resilience, like Perry’s, which has helped the mother of three prevail in the arts sector in China.
In a male-dominated industry, it has always been challenging but with perseverance, she has made significant inroads and recently begged two awards in China. For that, she is thankful for her current community, in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, which she says affords people equal opportunities.
She bagged the Best Script Writing Award at the Beijing Film Academy and the Best Monologue Presentation Award at the Communication University of China.
“The society I am living in provides equal opportunities. The support is overwhelming. This therefore, makes me even more determined to keep going and aim even higher.
“The awards are a landmark in my career. I have been in the arts for a long time but I would say the awards are a confirmation that patience, hard work and resilience do pay off eventually,” said Violet who is married to lawyer and businessman, Tichaona Martin Madzikanda.
Starting off in the media as a presenter on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC’s) Teen Scene 15 years ago, Violet never settled in one place because of her desire to learn. The desire later saw her featuring as an extra on the precolonial set film, Tiriparwendo.
The exposure she got as a presenter enabled her to audition for multiple roles on different programmes like Legacies and Small House Saga. Although she did not land the roles because she was young and there were no roles fit for her age at the time, the experience helped her.
“When I was introduced to Aaron Chiunduramoyo by the late Arnold Shoko in 2007, he asked me if I minded being an extra for sometime while he was creating a real character for me. Passion was driving me. All I wanted was the exposure. Unfortunately, when he finally created a permanent character for me, my journey was short lived as Tiriparwendo went off air. It only came back when i was no longer around.”
While she concedes that Zimbabwe has an abundance of talent and equally intriguing stories to be told in film, she said the industry is struggling because of lack of funding.
This is a stark opposite to China where there is abundant resources, gadgets and sponsors.
“The filmmakers in the Chinese industry are goal getters who value team work. They never leave a project unfinished. They also have a huge sponsorship base which makes everything possible.
“It is true Zimbabwe has a lot of talent that is yet to be showcased because there are no resources. Because of the economic situation, many choose to pursue other careers that quickly bring food to the table even when their passions and talents are in the arts.”
The lack of sponsorship also makes it difficult for talent scouts as they are forced to concentrate on urban areas when talent is scattered all over the country, she said.
“Producing quality products to safe on platforms like Netflix and PlayAfrikaTv is impossible for many in the industry because many still use archaic equipment because of the lack of resources,” she said.
Currently reading for a Masters Chinese Language, Literature and Culture at Communication University of China, Violet said her next big step would be movie production.
“I want to make movies, movies with a difference and in the near future I will also seriously venture into writing, she said.
For now, Violet is concentrating on commercials, documentaries, real estate videos and music videos. She is also collaborating with Chinese company, Beijing Dianying Gongsi on a feature film.