The new television series, ‘Marbles’, that started broadcasting on ZBC last Saturday, boasts of a unique dual plot which explores a range of topical societal issues, including Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially violence against women.
– by Boniface Chimedza – Arts Correspondent
Officially premiered in March last year at a red-carpet event to which the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Honorable Doctor Kirsty Coventry was invited as the Guest of Honour; Marbles is a series that generally focuses on the contemporary Zimbabwean women, highlighting by so doing the challenges faced by the fairer sex in a largely patriarchal society.
Written, directed and produced by award winning filmmaker Manuel Matsinye, Marbles was the first Zimbabwean television series to be launched in the typical showbiz glamour and splendour characterised by expensive limousines ferrying the cast and crew to and from Harare’s Ster Kinekor Eastgate – where the Series’ premiere event was held.
The Series’ prestigious premiere was the initial evidence of the international measure and stature of the Series, which is also destined for regional and global distribution.
“Topical issues of women empowerment, gender equality, gender-based violence, drug and substance abuse, the plight of the girl child and the menacing vices of social media are thoroughly explored in the Series, painting a vivid picture in the viewers’ mind of the extent to which the modern technological and digital advancement have negatively affected the values, beliefs and culture of the African society,” said Matsinye, the Series’ Executive Producer.
Marbles has broken the record by not only having a successful red-carpet premiere attended by senior government officials, but by also becoming the first series in the history of Zimbabwean film industry to be marketed through billboards, with one of its billboards at Joina City Mall while others are erected in strategic places around the central business district of Harare.
GBV issues have taken a centre stage over the past decade, with global statistics on gender-based violence, particularly violence against women, taking a gradual upward trend in spite of efforts to combat the vice.
An exceptional reflection of the contemporary Zimbabwean life is encapsulated in this ground-breaking Television Series, whose exciting plot and gripping subplots explore the dynamics of typical Zimbabwean life.
Marbles tells the story of a seemingly unbreakable friendship between four women – the marbles – whose childhood friendship cements their interpersonal relationships and that of their husbands.
However, stress and strain test the bond of friendship between the four when one of the marbles; Portia; kills her husband; Frank; and with the help of her friends covers up the deed, thereby making them accomplices in the crime.
Breath-taking drama unfolds, punctuated by an unavoidable clash of wills creatively exploring the dramatic themes of conspiracy, blackmail, love, hate, passion, emotion, resentment, revenge and betrayal – all of which makes the Series an exciting package to watch.
Marbles deliberately touches on the challenges faced by the contemporary women in a typically patriarchal society, aptly reflecting their protracted power struggles with men.
Social media influenced vices such as drug and substance abuse are also covered in Marbles, giving the series an opportunity to educate the youths against the dangers of the same while serving as a platform for women’s voices to be heard.
The Series uniquely juxtaposes a rural plot to an urban plot in an artistic contrast that sees both plots and their accompanying subplots feeding from and feeding into each other in a creative and dynamic storytelling fashion.
The Series is thus a window through which the audience can explore the characteristic dynamics of the typical Zimbabwean life – drawing meaningful lessons from perceived perspectives.
Marbles is a Series about women. It is a platform for them to highlight their areas of concern, an opportunity for them to express themselves and a vehicle that will positively drive their agenda and help them to break free from the shackles of a repressive and patriarchal society.
While the Series gives women a platform to communicate, it also allows them to introspect, as they too are imperfect mortals that need guidance and counselling for the betterment of society.
“To portray the flaws of women while advocating for their total protection; to allow women to lead the process of transformation while highlighting their habitual weaknesses and correcting their shared misconceptions about men; to give the girl child a chance to shine while simultaneously whipping her into line to conform to the guiding principles of the values, beliefs and mores that shape our African society; therein lies the series’ creative difference that then makes Marbles a must watch,” said Matsinye.
Running parallel to the urban centric plot is an exciting rural plot characterised by unique sub plots that reflect a typical rural life in Zimbabwe, while highlighting the vulnerability of women to the spread of sexually transmitted infections and the vice of unwanted pregnancies.
“Our rural plot is not cheap, its informed by serious research on the topical issues affecting our rural folks – we have made sure that we include these important issues in our Series because we believe the Zimbabwean story is incomplete without the rural narrative,” said Matsinye.
The local film and television industry is abuzz with activity as filmmakers have heightened their efforts in the production of content following the latest developments which saw the Government of Zimbabwe awarding Television Licences to about six new players last month – a move that is expected to improve the local film and television industry.