The Voice UK ‘star’ Donel Mangena inspires Mutare based filmmaker

Donel Mangena the United Kingdom born Zimbabwean contestant in the Voice UK who came out as runner up has inspired a Mutare based filmmaker Amanda Ranganawa to want to start a Zimbabwean version of the reality show.

…Ranganawa eyes to start Zimbabwean version of  The Voice

Ngoni Dapira

HE performed and conquered the stage in the 2018 edition of The Voice UK (United Kingdom) and last Saturday proved that he is every inch of a ‘super-star’ in the making that everyone is calling him when he gave a polished performance at Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday concert at The Royal Albert Hall in England,yes, it can only be the United Kingdom born Zimbabwean Donel Mangena.

The 16-year old Donel put on his biggest performance to date last Saturday, two weeks after finishing as runner up on The Voice UK 2018 won by Ruti Olajugbagbe.

The young, charismatic singer and performer joined a host of big name acts that perform at Queen Elizabeth‘s 92nd birthday concert, after receiving a letter of invitation from Prince Harry during climax of the competition.

Introduced by the Prince as a ‘star of the future’, Donel gave a confident and energetic performance of the song ‘Happy’ by United States top hip-hop and R n B artist Pharrell Williams, a recital that could have left Pharell green with envy if he was present. Judging by the reaction on social media, viewers were so smitten with Donel that the future looks bright for the young artist.

Throughout the competition Donel was called a ‘superstar’ by all the judges and has was equated as a great performer like renowned international performers such as Usher and Chris Brown. The 16-year old Donel who was born in the UK but stayed with his grandmother in Luveve in Bulawayo from three months of age till he was old enough to go to High School in the United Kingdom was literally the highlight of the show from the beginning to the end where he was actually tipped to win by odds statistics of the reality show.

Amanda Ranganawa the script writer of Kushata Kwemoyo (front black dress) with some cast members of the award winning movie and other NAMA winners during the awards ceremony early this year.

On the other hand, Mutare film producer and script writer Amanda Ranganawa said she was so inspired by Donel’s performance in the television reality show and believes there are more naturally gifted Zimbabwean artists that could be elevated if such a Zimbabwean version of the reality show was aired on the local national broadcaster ZBC tv or on satellite televisions such as DStv or Kwese TV.

Amanda Ranganawa

Ranganawa better known for her script writing skills after writing the script for the 2018 National Arts Merit Award winning movie ‘Kushata Kwemoyo’ said she intends to submit her script of the television reality show to the local broadcaster (ZBC), MultiChoice Zimbabwe and Kwese TV for a Zimbabwean version of The Voice.

“There are a lot of naturally gifted singers with incredible voices if a quality and well funded production like The Voice is done in Zimbabwe. This is my hope and maybe in 2019 we will have ‘The Voice Zimbabwe’. I am in the process of inquiring and making formal tenders for the reality show, but it is definitely a show that is needed as it has become popular worldwide,” said Ranganawa

So far in Africa, since 2016 MultiChoice has been airing The Voice Nigeria on Africa Magic and The Voice South Africa on M-Net. On April 12 through email, MultiChoice Zimbabwe publicity and public relations manager Liz Dziva said she could not respond to the question on whether Zimbabwe was in the pipeline for a stint to air its own version of The Voice but said she had forwarded the question to MultiChoice Africa, Since then no response has come from MultiChoice Africa by time of going to press.

Local talent shows like StarBrite, a talent search show which was born in the late 1980s and resurfaced in 2011 launched the musical careers of the likes of Afro-jazz songbird Prudence Katomani-Mbofana and Matthew Kaunda. However ever since its launch on ZBC TV its mediocre and paltry budget made it less appealing to reach the calibre of shows like The Voice in terms of production quality and funding for the show.

In 2006 popular Zimbabwean television personality Gary Thompson produced his own version of StarBrite, called the CBZ A Academy, which was however more bankrolled and more prescribed due to its production quality. The show launched the careers of the likes of Eric Moyo, Mkhululi, Jonah Sithole to mention a few who became starts in the first edition. Moyo who was the runner up in the inaugural (2006) edition of the show which was won by Jonah Sithole went on to win the idols Africa competition in 2008, just to show the quality of talented participants that took part in the show.

Whether or not Ranganawa will get a shot to air a Zimbabwean version of a quality music television reality show like The Voice, the talent is definitely in abundance in Zimbabwe and the thirst for such production quality shows is dire.


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