Mgcini Nyoni has a new short film on YouTube called Day 44. The film stars Nomashawekazi Damasane popularly known as Lady Tshawe. It’s a story of a woman living alone for 44 days. She keeps waiting for something, hoping for something. The whole time you can relate to her yearning, agitation and ultimate despair. It reminded me of Fort Minor’s song, “Where’d you go?” The song was about loved ones who had gone to the war and the emotions that those who remained behind would experience.
Day 44 is a short, precise, emotional epitome of what 2020 and the Covid pandemic have been especially for informal traders. If Day 44 was a music lyric it would be, “The only choice for a hustler is Corona or hunger,” by Asaph in ‘Asipheli Moya’. This is the harsh untold story of so many Zimbabweans. One way or another we all depleted our stocks when the pandemic hit. Mgcini’s depiction of passage in time using the egg tray and fruit bowl was a simple and yet powerful illustration of the effects of the lockdown.
Lady Tshawe delivered a powerful performance which was emotionally evocative and believable. She poured into that role and I was in my feelings. She had my attention for the duration of the film. I was captivated and enamoured by the story. I was right there with her, feeling her claustrophobia, tortured by her anticipation and completely unprepared for the ending.
Mgcini was really in his bag when he came up with Day 44. The actress, the monologue, the location, the lighting, the soundtrack, the story itself, it was all perfect and can be attributed to the film’s ability to emotionally put you through the ringer. I give Mgcini Nyoni his roses and I hope to see more similar work from him.
We can all relate to the loneliness and uncertainty depicted in the short film. We went for months staying indoors afraid of what the outside looked like. We were cut off from our loved ones. Some were cut off from their breadwinners. Kith and Kin went in to hospital and never came out. Some were trapped in their homes with monsters and no help ever came in. We all died one way or another. A life we knew died when the pandemic set in.
Our deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one during this turbulent time. 💛💛💛
You can watch Mgcini Nyoni’s Day 44 below.
How to support a Bulawayo artist’s short film
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