Lawrie Zidyana was born and bred in Chitungwiza, musha wazvo, in a family of Malawian descent. I call myself a Malawian and a Zimbabwean.
How did you get into videography/filmmaking?
Snobbery alert. I do not consider myself to be a videographer. I am a filmmaker. I tell stories. Videographers do something different. I won’t go further into what they do because I have to curb the aforementioned snobbery. I have always wanted to be in the broadcast industry. Growing up I wanted to be radio presenter and a doctor. I did neither. No chance to get on radio with ZBC being the only player in Zimbabwe. As for medicine, well, A Levels results did not go too well.
Being in the UK made things easier as I could easily afford gear. I studied Film, TV and Radio Production and got a chance to be on radio – I swore on live first ten minutes. With the growth of online video, I decide to produce more for myself and mainly others because the pay me.
How did Hona Africa come to be?
Hona Africa was initially supposed to be a blog featuring content from several friends who are African bloggers, hence the name Hona Africa, See Africa. I then decided to focus on creating content about African identity in the diaspora instead.
What is the future vision for Hona Africa?
To be more consistent in showing what diaspora Africans are up to and go beyond UK. If all goes well I will be making a documentary with a Zimbabwean music legend who now lives in Norway.
What has been your favourite project that you have worked on so far?
I have several favourite projects that I made for myself and for others. If I have to pick one it would be a short experimental film called Because I Am. The film challenges LGBT rights in Zimbabwe. The film was based on a poem by a Tinashe Wakapila, a Zimbabwean LGBT activist. The producer is Maud Goba, another Zimbabwean LGBT activist. The cast except one, was all LGBT. I am especially proud that I availed my filmmaking skills as a tool for the LGBT community to help tell their stories.
The film has been shown in many festivals around the world and was submitted to the United Nations’ Media Department. The most unexpected festival to screen it was in Seoul, South Korea. including Germany.
What have been the highs and lows of your career?
The lows are not too many. It’s usually when I have ideas I can’t afford. I just keep those ideas for the future – if someone wants to bless my bank account please do.
The highs have been when I know when someone tells me they watched a film I made and it tells their story.
Who are your inspirations in life?
I am inspired by a desire to fight the oppression of my fellow human beings. I strive for fairness. No one should be made to feel any less when they’re not harming anyone..
What is the one thing that you can’t live without?
My mind. I am glad I have a healthy mind.
What is the soundtrack to your life?
I like songs that are boastful and positive because what’s the point of being miserable? You’ve got to feel good listening to Amazing – Kanye West or The
Hottest By Far – The Fives. I can compile a rather long playlist if you like.
What are you most proud of about being Zimbabwean?
I will feel proud when I feel I have contributed something that positively impacts a lot of Zimbabweans. The pride has to be earned. I feel no one should be shouting out “proudly Zimbabwean” when their only contribution is being born there.
What advice would you give to other upcoming creatives?
Do not let people call you a creative. Define yourself. I am a musician. I am a painter. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am a fashion designer. You are whatever you do.
Experiment and stand out. You can the normal/trendy thing that everyone is doing or different. Normal is boring. Also, having a schedule maybe good motivation to create, don’t force. Create when you feel.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who gave a someone who gave a damn. I will always fight for fairness.
YouTube: Hona Africa