Educational, touchy and eye-opening this new play by playwright Hafeni Muzanima is humble activism. Revere Them Those Men is a story of four men who have to limit their true selves within four walls. Hoping to lead normal lives, find love, be happy and free they are left to live in dark corners because of their fear. The story profiles the life of a soccer star Tongo (Grant Edem), his secret lover Hanz Simasiku (Simone Johhanes) and another couple Jefta (Unati Hans), an ambitious dreamer, and his lover Pandu (Adriano Visagie) not forgetting the transgender tabloid editor Divine Edison (Girly Jazama).
Tongo, a well-known soccer player, harbours fears of being described as gay but falls in love with flamboyant fashion designer Hanz. In the heat of the moment Hanz discuss their sex life to his tabloid editor, Divine Edison, who ends up being an agent of change by ‘outing’ the socially revered men. Meanwhile, Pandu, a lawyer, has to deal with Jeff, his partner of seven years who wants to get married. While comparing the romantic with the realistic, Jeff and Pandu execute passionate verbal blows about activism, shame and the idea that it’s not gay men failing the economy or committing passion crimes.
Revere Them Those Men was a very humorous, disturbing, poetic and passionate play. Playwright and director Hafeni Muzanima wanted to offer the idea of a bright future, where hardship faced by homosexual people could be overcome. This idea is contrasted with the desperation one can feel in a society that never seems to see beyond the heavily made-up, flamboyant characterizations of gay people. For the actors this was a challenging experience for they were the ambassadors, giving their best in a play that captures the local gay experience in a way that is both brave and difficult.
The 22 year old director Muzanima’s explained his ability with paper, pen and poetics, saying that he looks up to gay activists such as Marlon Riggs and Essex Hempill, who also wrote gay plays in the 90’s.There seems to be no stopping this young, bubbly and very courageous director, who says the theater industry is his for the taking. Muzanima believes the theater is quite a powerful tool that can be used when facing social problems. He mentioned that he is busy with another production and he says he sees great things ahead.
Written by Bobby Kaanjosa