THE infamous diamond rush of years gone by in Zimbabwe produced many heart-wrenching tales of mineral plunder, massive corruption by top political figures, human rights abuses and loss of lives on the mining fields of Marange.
Now, an eagerly-awaited film that endeavours to immortalise the Marange events has been produced.
A sought-after actor, Eddie Sandifolo, will debut as co-director in latest film, titled Ngoda (Zimbabwean lingo for diamond). It premieres this weekend at Ster Kinekor’s Sam Levy Village cinema.
The award-winning Sandifolo also doubles as part of the cast in the film that revisits the diamond rush which took place in Zimbabwe around 2006 in the Chiadzwa area of Marange in Manicaland province.
Sandifolo is well known for starring in productions such as Shaina, Cook Off, Mugabe, Gonarezhou and Escape, among others.
He won gongs for Best Actor at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival, National Arts Merit Awards Best Actor and I Will Tell Festival Miami.
The gifted screen actor has also featured in several local soapies and ZBC-TV dramas. Sandifolo co-directs the film with seasoned filmmaker Joe Njagu.
The two close friends have collaborated for over a decade, but this is their first co-directing stint.
Ngoda is based on an idea by Charles Njagu, who sparked the development of a story about illegal diamond mining in Zimbabwe. It is inspired by events that have happened in Zimbabwe, through research and visiting the mining areas.
Written by Charles Njagu, Eddie Sandifolo and Joe Njagu – the storyline is set in 2006 amidst the diamond mining rush.
It is a story of the Toropito brothers, who have to raise sufficient funds to buy back their lost land. The only way to do this, it turned out, was through illegal diamond mining.
They work for a ruthless diamond dealer who rips them off by under-paying them.
Tindo, the eldest of the brothers, accidentally stumbles upon a huge diamond stone, but decides to hide it from everyone.
The diamond is then stolen from Tindo and news of the precious stone spreads.
The hunt for the diamond is on, and the story unfolds – amid greed, betrayal and disloyalty – leading to fatal consequences in the dramatic thriller.
The film is a star-studded ensemble of top Zimbabwean talent: Elijah Madzikatire, Taurai Kawara, Charmaine Mujeri, Caroline Mashingaidze Zimbizi, Farai Chigudu, Charles Njagu, Dalma Chiwereva, Charity Dlodlo, Lovejoy Mawoneka, Felix Machingambi, Stewart Sakarombe, Chati Butao.
Ngoda was shot in Zimbabwe at popular sites like Dzimbanhete, run by Chiko Chazunguza who also features.
The 90-minute feature film production took place in 2022 and the production team includes Joe Njagu, Sandifolo, Charles Njagu, Farai Chimombe, Farai Chigudu, Philip Marumha, Jude Dutiro and Malaika Mushandu.
Former Miss Zimbabwe Mushandu stepped onto the film scene with a bang after her directorial debut with her award-winning film Mirage. The gorgeous ex-beauty queen scooped numerous awards last year and got nominated for Best Director at the prestigious AMMA awards in Nigeria.
According to Joe, there will be a red-carpet affair that will see local celebrities gracing the event.
He said Ngoda has started on a high note as it has already won the Best Film gong at the recently ended NAMA awards and was also nominated for Best Actor award for Farai Chigudu.
“Collaboration is the magic key to building this film sector into a viable commercial industry, we need to all bring our creative skills together and make amazing films,” Njaju said.
“The market is hungry for content and the onus is on us to supply.”
The independently produced film will be taken to festivals around the world before an international release date.