Finding Temeraire – A Powerful Zimbabwean Narrative

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a play for the first time in almost a year and boy was it an experience. The play, Finding Temeraire, was written by an extremely talented Zimbabwean writer by the name of Stan Makuwe, and features an all Zimbabwean cast of Munashe Tapfuya and Tawanda Manyimo.  Based in a derelict mining town in Zimbabwe called Mashava, the story follows an ex-con named Primrose (Tapfuya) as she seeks revenge on the person she blames for all of her misfortunes leading up to incarceration. The characters have so much depth and I salute the actor and actress for depicting these flawed personalities with such conviction.

The play starts off with a bit of nostalgia, at least for those of us with a Zimbabwean heritage, and quite a fair amount of lighthearted humour. We see Primrose engage her target, Temeraire (Manyimo), in some friendly banter about the good old days when Mashava was still a thriving town. At this stage it appears that Temeraire is unaware of the person he is engaging with and is quite happy to have the company. The story takes a sudden twist when Primrose decides to reveal her identity to her unsuspecting prey, and in a flash the once lighthearted play becomes a dark affair exploring some rather intense themes. Without going into a full synopsis, the deal is this; Temeraire was once the man about town with powerful friends and money to burn. Primrose, on the other hand was a maid who is depicted as having been part of a lower class. At some point Temeraire, who is at the time married to another woman, impregnates Primrose but denies the child. As a response to this Primrose murders her child soon after giving birth, thus earning herself a long prison sentence. Like I said, I really don’t want this to be a synopsis so I won’t go into too much depth, but the themes that are covered in this tale are quite intense. The play covers mental health, baby dumping/murder, revenge, and so much more. It is quite the experience.

I’m not sure if this play will be coming back for another season, but if it does (or if it comes to a theatre near you) I urge to check it out.

PS: I’m not normally big on plays etc, hence the shambolic post. But I hope it gets the point across….


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