Artist dreams of building a theatre

Zanzolo Camile talks about his dream of building a theatre in his home town of Lady Frere.

Cultural and community activist Zanzolo Camile is on a mission to raise enough funds to build a theatre similar to the Artscape in his home town of Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape.

The 30-year-old actor and hip hop artist based in Khayelitsha says his dream is to see young people in the Eastern Cape given a platform to showcase their God-given talent and not have to travel to urban areas seeking better opportunities.

He told Vukani that he is putting the final touches to his first hip hop cultural album titled Yakha Nathi which is named after the fundraising initiative that he intends to embark on.

He says the album is one of the many tools which he aims to use to generate funding to cover the cost of establishing the theatre, explaining that he will host musical events in the future to boost his efforts.

Zanzolo, who has been in the music industry for more than 16 years, is part of a hip hop group called Izwi lwabantu and they have released numerous albums together.

He explained that the songs on his album are traditional songs which urge young people to love their language and always embrace their culture.

Among his songs are ones such as Ithongo lam and Siwela Imifula which talk about the importance of preserving culture and to never undermine the essential role played by traditional customs in one’s life.

Asked why he wants to build theatre in his home town, he said it is no secret that there are no adequate resources in the Eastern Cape for aspiring actors or musicians and they are therefore battling fulfil their dreams due to a lack of opportunities.

He said he knew from a young age that all he wanted to do was sing and so he made a pact with himself that he would not let any hardship derail him from achieving his dream.

He said in 2013 he won Vukani’s spoken word competition and in 2015 he was crowned the Hip Hop King of the Western Cape at the South African Hip Hop awards held in Johannesburg.

“Our communities do not support budding artists and I urge them to show their unwavering support to this bold initiative which seeks to unearth the abundance of talent we have in our home villages. We need to teach young people to be self-reliant and provide them with the tools to do so,” he said.

He said this coming Saturday September 24-which is Heritage Day – he will host a musical show at Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha where there will be performances by artists from Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape.

Fundraised would go toward realisings his dream of building a theatre in the Eastern Cape.

Funding, he said, remained one of the main challenges up-and-coming artists faced and he pleaded with the government to host a concert solely aimed at giving budding artists an opportunity to perform , giving them a platform on which to be spotted by talent scouts.

He also urged young people to establish youth forums that would enable them to raise their own issues and engage with one another to find better solutions to deal with the issues facing them.

When asked to tell Vukani what he did when he wasn’t making music, Zanzolo said he saw himself as community builder, having worked with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and now as part of the Khayelitsha Jama Garden organisation which teaches people the importance of food gardens.