Amanda Ranganawa is a filmmaker, corporate model, brand ambassador and actress. As an Honours in Theatre graduate from the University of Zimbabwe, Amanda has proven to be an undeniable talent and is the writer of the multi-award-winning film Kushata kweMoyo, which was aired on DStv Channel Africa Magic.
“I am currently the lead actress in the ZBC TV series called Smoking Gun,” Amanda told The Weight She Carries. “I act as Sergeant Princess Chiito. She is a military intelligence undercover sergeant. She is the one who helps the main actor (Jokonya) clear his name after being framed for a crime he didn’t do.”
Amanda has worked with many established artists locally and abroad. She acted in Fungisai Zvakavapano Mashavave’s music video Dzoka Kumba.
“The song talks about an abusive marriage, and the singer (Fungisai) is encouraging the woman to come back home and leave the abusive husband,” she said.
In addition, the Mutare-based creative recently submitted one of her scripts to a script writers competition held by JAC Film School and WIN Zimbabwe. Her script “Unbroken Chains” won the competition.
In July, Amanda was appointed to the National Film Strategy Committee of Zimbabwe, a 23-member committee and an initiative of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, to develop the Zimbabwe film industry.
Another highlight for this successful creative was being accepted into the University of East Anglia and Zimbabwe Theatre Academy Playwright Master class.
I wanted to get to know more about who Amanda is as a woman and her professional journey thus far, so I asked her to shed some light on her climb.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I grew up in a family of five. I’m the fourth child and the extra spice of the family LOL. I loved acting, dancing and writing. I started writing songs at the age of 8. By the time I was 11, I was writing stories, short novels, poems, etc. I’ve always had a very strong and vivid imagination and grew up watching Nigerian actors like Patience Ozokor, Genevieve Nnaji, Ramsey Nouah. I used to imitate them whenever they acted.
What drew you to the arts?
I have no idea LOL. I was born like that.
What are some of the challenges you experienced in pursuing your career?
I have had to overcome a lot of challenges as a female writer, actress, producer and director myself. One of them being finances. Most times, you have to fund yourself in the industry and also fund others when you incorporate them into your projects. So it’s always straining when you have to do film projects on small budgets.
Then, working in a male-dominated industry is quite challenging. As a young woman, you come across people who want to take advantage of you and your talent. There are men who prey on young women and there are those who use women and don’t want to pay them. So you have to be strong and wise in order to navigate your way in the industry. At some point, you have to take back your power and start doing your own projects.
Can you tell us where your inspiration comes from?
Life, I guess. I’m inspired by anything that touches my heart and sparks my brain.
What types of projects are you drawn to?
Anything that I can use my heart and talent to accomplish. I love venturing into new ideas and expressing myself in many ways.
Tell us about your charity work.
I am the founder of Young Leaders in Action Zimbabwe. It’s a youth organization that focuses on developing and training young people. We also do charity work. We give to orphanages, disabled children, street kids, old people’s homes, rural homes, etc. We help in any way we can.
We also partner with other organizations to help children. We have helped American artist Gshytt donate $1,000 worth of reusable pads to Zimbabwe. We also helped a Zimbabwe – France based basketball player donate money and groceries in Chipinge rural areas. We have donated food, clothes, shoes to local orphanages and organizations such as Tinenyasha Orphanage and Disabled Children’s Home, Chedenga Foundation Trust, Jairos Jiri and Simukai.
Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I am the writer, director and producer of the film Depth of Emotions. The film went viral before it was even released. We did a skit while shooting the wedding scene for the film and it went viral. The video has been shared on several social media platforms for the past 2 weeks. It’s on Zim Celebs, Mbingaldo TV, YAfm iHarare.com, Zim Artists Hub, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp statuses, etc. It’s just everywhere! The topic of the film really drew a lot of people’s attention. The film itself is still being edited and will be released in November.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not tall LOL. I am very short and portable. Most people think I’m tall.😂
What is your favourite beauty product?
Eyeliner. I have very little eyebrows, so I always carry it in my bag.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can do graphic design.
What is a typical day like for you?
I’m always typing. I do research work. So if I’m not doing that, I’m writing things to do with my arts projects. So a day for me is filled with writing non-stop.
If you could spend a day with someone famous, who would that be?
What do you hate the most about adulting?
The work never stops. The more you grow, the more responsibilities you have.
What are you most proud of?
Myself. I’m proud of ME!
What advice do you have for women trying to get their start in the film industry?
If you are an artist, my advice would be for you to study the arts profession you want to do, then add business management to that profession. Art is a business. Don’t come into the industry saying you’re doing it for “passion.” It’s a money business. Come into the industry with the mindset to make something out of yourself.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.