Ability to illuminate audience, ignites Penelope’s dream
By Simbarashe Musaki
IN Zimbabwe, acting fame is like paper fire and most famous performers can change like seasons, but Penelope Sekai Chadenga, who acted as Tambu on popular television series, Tunga, seems to be in her own class of knowing how to enthrall an audience, the sole ingredient for staying in the spotlight for years.
Chadenga, affectionately known as Penelove Munhu, is a gorgeous and alluring actress, not only famous for her beauty, but also for her strength in illuminating the human condition by bringing compelling characters to life.
Inspired by Angelina Jolie, the 34-years old actress was born and educated in Chitungwiza. She grew up in a dramatic, as well as acting supportive family and her childhood home was a fun-filled place.
Chadenga started acting at the tender age of 11-years after joining her junior school (Zengeza 4 Primary) drama club, but she was more focused on traditional dance, which she later pursued professionally with Chipawo and Ballet.
In 2005, she ventured full time into the arts industry, as a choreographer, prior to recording a handful of skits and short films with hood colleagues, in quest of finding her strength in the trade but failed to find a breakthrough on both efforts.
“On this road to fame, I have been helped and encouraged by many including my family which was supportive. It’s not easy to find a breakthrough in the acting industry and when nothing is materializing after putting much effort, you get stressed, but I want to thank my mother, from her, I have derived the strength to rise from constant moods of despair and self-doubt.
Chadenga continued to explore and develop her talent till 2016 when she excelled at auditions of one of the country’s most decorated film directors, Willard Magombedze’s classic retro-style season, Tunga, became her screen debut.
The film set her up for everlasting success, as she got noticed in an extremely short period because of her fresh and flawless performances.
On her way to becoming a global sensation, which the chances of succeeding are a stone throw away, Chadenga featured in a number of movies directed by the country’s cream of directors, comprising of Mestar Munashe’s Maria as Mai Tino (2017), Melvin Tafirenyika’s 30 February as Mai Mufundisi (2017), Kuda Bwititi’s Overspill (2018) and Pero in 2018.
In 2019, she enrolled at Zimbabwe Theatre Academy to sharpen her theatre acting skills and graduated in 2020.
Equipped with her experience and theatre academy knowledge, she was enlisted as one of the trainee theatre directors for the forthcoming Mitambo International Theatre Festival under the expert hand of Zimbabwe Theatre Academy director, Lloyd Nyikadzino.
“To be recognized in the film industry and to have a big and positive name, you have to work hard. Look, I joined the acting industry in 2005, but my screen debut was in 2016, and from there, opportunities opened up to the extent that I had to turn down invitations to feature on some dramas due to a busy schedule. In 2020, I graduated from the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy and that helped me a lot in polishing my acting skills,” said Chadenga
In diversifying her artistic career, she has ventured into fashion designing and is the lady behind Munhu label, derived from her nickname. She is also part of the Celebration Choir and is due to release her solo album if all goes according to plans.
One of the leading roles played by Chadenga is the lead role of Stacy in Tindike, a series aired on ZTV, by Willard Magombedze, despite shifting focus to theatre performance.
A person who does not have a dream is a dead person; her dream is to pursue a career beyond our borders, as well as producing and directing own films.