“Neria 21”, a remake of the classic “Neria” movie of yesteryears, will première today on YouTube, producers of the film have said.

Hosted by Rawsoot Studio, the première coincides with the belated commemorations of International Women’s Day.

Just like the original Neria of 30 years ago which highlighted issues of women abuse as a global pandemic, the remake has the same theme and concept, but with new actors.

Neria 21 features Kudzai Chengedza also known as Mbuya VaPiyasoni, who plays the lead role of Neria, Innocent Kufakunesu ‘Sarungano’, who plays Jethro, Oswald Mahwende as Patrick, Nesu Madakiwe as Phineas, Cordelia Masalethulini as Jane and Jo-Anne Chidochangu Tenga as Connie.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Neria 21 executive producer Vimbai Sinchuke said the film was about gender-based violence and the need for women empowerment.

“Neria was done observing the way women are treated. Since that has not changed socially, culturally and professionally we decided to show how the pattern remains the same for them,” she said.

“The more things change the more they remain the same, but a lot of ground still needs to be covered. We have only but scratched the surface and we hope this remake changes the trajectory as it will be viewed globally.”

Now, with copyright infringement being a trendy fashion lately the Rawsoot Studios, followed proper channels and reached out to other content creators before shooting.

“Firstly MFDI (Media for Development International) granted us rights to do the remake,” said Vimbai.

“We got music rights from Sheer Sound CC through the family of the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and Albert Nyathi who performed ‘Senzenina’ for the film.”

Packed with locally grown talent, Vimbai said it is only Africans that can tell an African story from an African perspective.

“We realised Africans are capable of telling their own stories with a capacity to distribute them,” she said. “It is time to tell this generation’s version of the classic Neria film.”

Some of the lead cast in Neria 21 have said it was a great opportunity to feature in the film.

Mahwende said of his character as Patrick: “As a man who believes in gender equality, I see it as a platform to stand and say no to gender-based-violence through this film.

“It is good for us to keep the legacy that Tsitsi Dangarembga, Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, and the late Patrick left.”

Sarungano, who plays Uncle Jethro, brother to Neria said: “It is a great opportunity to start conversations about improving Zimbabwean cinema, offering us a chance to narrow and bridge the gap between our old society and the current generation.”

The film is dedicated to one of the cast members, the late Blessing Nyamukapa, who played Maria.

The Herald