With the success of twenty to thirty something artists in Tanzania, it is easy to forget that even before Bongo Flava or YouTube and, even the Internet for that matter – Mzee Kipara was there. When we went to film Bongoland II in Dar, the casting director – Gervas Kasiga told me that he found a perfect old man to play the imam in the movie. He then said – once you hear his voice you will know who he is. And, sure enough, once I heard him I recognized his voice immediately. Mzee Kipara is a veteran actor who worked for Radio Tanzania for many years. He was part of the talented cast that was heard weekly in thrilling radio drama productions.
As a kid growing up in Bukoba, the radio reception was never clear, and so sometimes all we could hear were pieces of an argument between two characters and the unmistakable deep voice of Mzee Kipara in most cases playing an elder, a teacher, or a grandfather. (more…)