If you attend Donald Molosi’s one man shows, you are always guaranteed a raw, moving and staggering act. His commanding and entrancing performances leave a lasting impression on the audience; and make people go cuckoo. Several years ago when Donald first performed his play, ‘Today It’s Me’ at District Five in New York City, which had him become the first Motswana on Broadway, his undeniable talent would soon have him staging the play in the native country of the man that inspired the play’s inception; Uganda. During this year’s Writivism festival, Donald headlined the event with his emotive play at the Ugandan National Theatre.
The playÔÇöwhich has since earned Donald a Robert Potter Playwriting Award from the University of California and the Ruth Scott Memorial Prize, chronicles legendary Ugandan singer Philly Lutaaya’s journey from being a prominent singer to a musical HIV/AIDS activist due to his own battle with the disease, continues to gain Molosi both local and international praise as an outstanding playwright and actor. Philly Lutaaya was the first renowned African to publicly declare his diagnosis and this helped save many lives by using music as a weapon against AIDS.
“His legacy lives on in a bold way in the hearts of Ugandans. I am honoured to have performed my play about his life in his native country of Uganda,” says award winning Molosi, who wrote the play in consultation with Lutaaya’s family. “It was a big moment for me to repatriate the story to its country, Uganda. I was heartened by the reception and the fact that Ugandans absolutely loved it and have requested for its return. People cried and shared their own testimonies coming in contact with AIDS or with the Lutaaya story,” adds Molosi.
Writivism is an annual Literary Festival held every June in Kampala, Uganda, featuring leading contemporary African writers. It was started by the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) in Uganda. This year marked its third edition, and it ran from the 17th to the 21st of June. It featured authors, academics, bloggers, critics, reviewers, publishers and other patrons in the African literary scene drawn from various parts of the continent. “Donald gave us goose bumps with his performance,” says co-founder of the festival Bwesigye Mwesigire.
Earlier this year, Donald facilitated the Writivism workshop in Gaborone as a mentor together with Lauri Kubuitsile in what was the first workshop of its kind in Botswana.
In addition to his performance, Donald also ran a playwright master class with Angella Emurwon during the festival. ‘Today It’s Me’ also headlined Maitisong Festival in April, leaving many emotional and heartened by Lutaaya’s inspirational legacy in his service to spreading awareness about the epidemic.
“I watched the second night of the play and I was amazed by his portrayal of the late superstar. His play included some of Lutaaya’s songs like Tumusiime the Christmas carol and a few others. He was giving the language justice, and tears came to my eyes (manly tears of course),” says Kenyan based reviewer James Murua.