Kumwesu — the latest TV show with a Zambia twist

Sara Drawwater
22 October 2013
Airing every Friday at 19:00 hours (CAT) on African Magic Entertainment Channel, Kumwesu is the latest African lifestyle and entertainment show to hit television screens across Africa. Produced by…

Airing every Friday at 19:00 hours (CAT) on African Magic Entertainment Channel, Kumwesu is the latest African lifestyle and entertainment show to hit television screens across Africa. Produced by Ground Focus Media Production, this is the first Southern African produced lifestyle show to air on African Magic Entertainment Channel.

We caught up with the feisty, passionate and fashionable Kumwesu presenter, Mutale Mwanza, and got all the inside information on what the buzz is all about and why you should be watching the show!

TBOZ: Kumwesu is from a local Zambian dialect meaning “our place”. What inspired you to choose this name for the show?MUTALE: After we conceptualised the format and content of the show, we needed a name for it so we sat down as production and brainstormed. We came up with all sorts of names, from Chic Avenue to Chic Street but they just didn’t seem to fit. When KUMWESU was suggested, we all loved it as it reflects where we come from. The Executive producer gave the go ahead and here we are today.

TBOZ: What is the aim of the show and what do you hope to achieve with it?MUTALE: The aim of Kumwesu is to expose and highlight the beauty of Africa. With this show, we hope to expose mostly the SADC region to the rest of Africa and beyond.

TBOZ: There are several entertainment shows on Africa Magic that showcase the beautiful destinations of Africa and its people. What sets Kumwesu apart from these shows?MUTALE: What sets Kumwesu apart from other shows is the fact that it is the first of its kind — Zambian named and produced. KUMWESU is the only show currently on Africa Magic that focuses mainly on the SADC region of Africa.The show also has a different side to it as it not only interviews celebrities and personalities but also pushes them out of their comfort zone. For example we asked the former Angolan Big Brother housemate, Wezi Solange, to go cart racing, something she was not familiar with!

TBOZ: Ground Focus Media Production is the force behind Kumwesu. Tell us a little bit more about what Ground Focus is all about, and how long it has been running.MUTALE: Ground Focus Media Production is a subsidiary of Ground Focus Ltd — a mining geo-technical consultancy and civil engineering company based in Kitwe, Zambia. Ground Focus Productions is a media company born out of the desire to showcase SADC countries while at the same time promoting the rest of Africa as well. The media house is based in South Africa and specialises in radio and TV production, event and talent management, and camera hire.

TBOZ: Ground Focus Media Production is the first Southern African Company to clinch a deal with African Magic Entertainment to showcase different African lifestyles across the continent. What does this mean for the company?MUTALE: Ground Focus Media clinching a deal with Africa Magic brings pride not only to us as a production house, but to our country Zambia. It also means our efforts to showcase the beauty of the SADC part of Africa and our quality of work as a production house is being appreciated. This makes us want to work harder!

TBOZ: Ground Focus is made up of a team of competent and professional directors, producers, presenters, script writers and general personnel based in Zambia and South Africa. How did such a talented team get together from two different countries?MUTALE: Considering the huge investment that the company has made in this production, it was in the company’s best interest to hire the best there is in the business and this is what has brought such a talented team together.

TBOZ: As the presenter of the show you get to host it from different holiday destinations and locations across the continent. What has this experience been like for you?MUTALE: Presenting the show has been an amazing experience for me! I have travelled to different beautiful destinations in Africa that I never knew existed and I have come to appreciate my continent Africa with every country I visit. I’m ecstatic!

TBOZ: Any interesting or crazy experiences you have had while trotting across the continent filming the show?MUTALE: I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences while shooting the show, probably too many to list. But one incident that stands out was when the crew and I were shooting the show from Sun City in South Africa. We were in this beautiful place called “the palace of the lost city”. I was overwhelmed by the pools, the buildings and all the people and holiday makers that kept gathering around as we shot. I kept forgetting my lines! I was so nervous!

TBOZ: Is there any particular African personality that you look forward to featuring on the show, or a favorite personality you have featured so far?MUTALE: Oh wow! I had been looking forward to featuring South African media personality Bonang Matheba, Wiz Kid and Ice Prince right at the start but we have already had them on the show already. Now, I’m really looking forward to featuring the former First Lady of Zambia Maureen Mwanawasa and Nigerian singer and songwriter Dbanj.

TBOZ: You have a background in radio. You started out working for Kitwe based radio station Flava FM, and later moved on to present the first ever African TV radio show, Planet Radio Television in South Africa. How did you transition into TV?MUTALE: After four years of radio, I decided I wanted to do TV. I then relocated to South Africa and joined Good Morning Africa and Planet Radio TV briefly. I felt that I was too comfortable doing the same thing and needed to challenge myself. After seven months, I joined Ground Focus Media Production as a producer and presenter.

TBOZ: Has your background in radio taught you any useful lessons that you are using in television?MUTALE: Yes it has. Being in radio has prepared me for TV and actually given me a lot of useful pointers that I use in my new niche.

TBOZ: Kumwesu is Ground Focus Media Production’s first television production. Any plans to come up with more TV productions soon? What should we expect next?MUTALE: Ground Focus Media Production is working on quite a number of TV productions. We are currently working on a Zambian sports show, a morning show too. There are quite a number of projects being born behind the scenes currently.

TBOZ: This is the question I imagine many Zambian musician fans would like answered. The name Kumwesu is also the title track of a popular Zambian song performed by Chef 187 ft Afunika and Pilato. This song also plays in the intro to your show. Is this a happy coincidence or did either of you inspire the other?MUTALE: This is a happy coincidence actually. After the name of the show had been decided upon, it came to our attention that there’s a Zambian song with the same title. The production house contacted the artists, finalised the documentation with regards to usage, and we were good to go.