Highlight : Dorcas Mulenga (Stage Actor)

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By LINDA NYONDO – Daily Mail

“MRS KABANANA” – Dorcas Mulenga
“MRS KABANANA” – Dorcas Mulenga

SHE is one of the most talkative people you will ever meet, but she is in control of her tongue as is careful with every word that comes out of her mouth.
Dorcas Mulenga, popularly known as Mrs Kabanana, lights up a place the moment she walks in.
Her charming smile and laughter brighten up a place and can make a gloomy and burdened person forget about their problems and enjoy the moment.
No wonder she is one of Zambia’s finest actresses, and her fans can attest to this.
“I got my inspiration from my father. He was one of the best stage actors in Zambia.
As a little girl, I used to accompany him to Lusaka Playhouse. He was a stage performer and I would wonder how he managed,” Dorcas says.
At the age of five, Dorcas realised that she, like her father, was an actor. She then joined drama club at her school.
Her acting career flourished while she was at Lusaka Girls, where she was an active member of the drama club.
She took up challenging roles but always managed to put up a good performance.
Dorcas enjoyed playing the roles of male characters because she found them to be fascinating and exciting.
“I remember being on the stage and I did not realise that there was a crowd. All I wanted was to perform.
Stage acting is my passion, I enjoy it more than film. I get excited whenever I am performing on the stage,” Dorcas says.
Dorcas says film acting is less challenging than stage acting because the latter involves an actor performing to a live audience.
If an actor makes a mistake while performing on stage, the other actors will react differently, not as outlined in the script.
There is no room for mistakes when it comes to stage performance.
Dorcas finds film acting less challenging because it is a cut and action, and actors can get away with mistakes.
As a way of diversifying, Dorcas pursued a diploma in human resources management at the Zambia Insurance Business College. She also has a certificate in human resources management from the same college.
Although she is a born actor, she is employed as an executive officer at the Ministry of Agriculture’s department of Livestock and Fisheries.
Prior to her engagement at the department of Livestock and Fisheries, Dorcas worked as benefits officer at the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), where she was a supervisor.
She also worked as a clerk at NAPSA, and was also a member of the theatre club there.
Dorcas is married to a Mr Mwamba Mulenga and they have three girls together: Natasha, Wanipa and Lubemba.
She describes her husband as a loving and supportive man who has encouraged her throughout her acting career and sometimes helps her to read through scripts.
Dorcas describes herself as a fortunate woman for marrying Mr Mulenga, who is her pillar and tolerates her awkward working hours.
Although acting is her passion, Dorcas cannot stop working because the art industry is not developed in Zambia and there are no monetary benefits.
“It is hard to live on art in Zambia and I’m glad I realised that at tender age hence my decision to pursue other avenues to sustain my life,” Dorcas says.
Dorcas has taken acting as a hobby rather than a career.
Her acting career dates back to her school days but the soap Kabanana, where she featured as ‘Dorcas’, Mrs Kabanana marketed her.
Dorcas has featured in many movies such as Rewind, where she played the role of mother to an HIV-positive person who could not give her blood when she needed a blood transfusion.
Other movies in which she featured are Choices and Chances, Kabanana, Silent Voices and Future for Our Daughter.
Meanwhile, she has also performed plays like Katinanga, a musical play, Much Ado about the Dream, and Elpse of the Debts, where she played the role of Minister of Finance.
“As a woman in the art industry, people would perceive you as a promiscuous person,’’ Dorcas says.
Dorcas says it is wrong to be anti-social because people expect an actor to be happy at all times.
She recalled a time when she was driving her terminally ill grandmother, who was gasping for breath, to the hospital and at the traffic lights a group of young girls smiled at her.
Despite having a patient who was in a critical condition in the car, Dorcas had to smile because the girls would not have understood if she had not smiled back at them.
Dorcas says being an actor makes one lose their privacy because everyone wants to know what is going on in their private lives.
One of the most embarrassing moments in her life was when the wig she was wearing was blown off by the wind onto a stranger’s laps.