He is a doyen and he has to be celebrated!
All of us, we are what we are today because of the knowledge and skills we have been taught by our tutors, and for that we have a debt that we must pay to the dedicated teachers who groomed us.
Celebrated arts doyen Cont Mhlanga is one creative who has groomed and nurtured most of the local theatre and film talent and he has to be celebrated accordingly.
One of his protégés Zenzo Moyo, otherwise known as Mzambane (for his role on ZBC TV heyday series Amakorokoza), has paid tribute to Cont for nurturing and polishing him to becoming the celebrated theatre and television darling that he is today.
He posted a moving acknowledgement message to Cont, a veteran practitioner who retired and relocated to his Lupane homestead three years ago.
“Appreciation post! It takes a village to raise a child” (African proverb). In my artistic journey (village), He is my Village Chief. Malume is what we grew up calling him and now I call him iXhegu (old man). He is none other than Professor Cont Mhlanga, yes Prof for me,” wrote Mzambane.
Cont is one master who made and still makes sure that his flock are led on the right path and pastures.
While Mzambane was still his student at Amakhosi school of arts, Cont told him to focus on his career and work with various producers/directors for him to be respected and given the title of an actor.
“After I completed my four-year course at Amakhosi performing arts children’s programme and another two years as an amateur theatre practitioner, Cont said he would only call me an actor once.
“That is after I have featured in at least 10 proper stage plays by at least five different directors. That is the challenge I got from him. It then took me about 12 years to achieve that.
“So nowadays how long do we take to be called or to call ourselves professional(s)? With Google and all I am sure even overnight one is ready (just saying and appreciating technology). To Ixhegu thank you very much for all the knowledge. I am still learning even today,” wrote Mzambane.
In his career, Cont has nurtured the likes of the late Beater Mangethe and Taurai Muswere, Raisedon Baya, Memory Kumbota, among many celebrated arts practitioners.