Channel 4 has commissioned How to Survive a Dictator produced by Rumpus Media for Channel 4.

The doc follows comedian Munya Chawawa as he makes a film about Zimbabwe’s notorious dictator, Robert Mugabe.

The one-hour programme follows Chawawa whose original plans were thwarted, as with his bags packed and flights booked, his filming visas were mysteriously cancelled. So now he is travelling to South Africa to meet with Mugabe’s friends, his family, his victims and his henchmen in an attempt to make the show in spite of the change of plan.

Using interviews, archive, and comedy sketches to help viewers understand the story, Munya tries to unpick the man behind the monster – exploring an extraordinary life that saw Mugabe win independence for his people and then rule them with increasing brutality through four decades.

Munya meets with Mugabe’s nephews; his former friend Wilf, who cut ties with Mugabe after the massacre of 20,000 civilians; his spiritual advisor and some of his many victims. Finally he goes head-to-head with a Mugabe ally accused of brutal violence and intimidation.

Munya Chawawa said: “I love Zimbabwe. It’s so pivotal to who I am – almost like a blueprint to my personality. I never fully understood why I had to leave and this documentary, for me, was a chance to uncover that. But let me tell you: it’s an emotional rollercoaster, especially after I found out my filming visa was rejected. But in true sneaky, satirist style – we managed to tell the story another way… and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual, Channel 4 said: “I’m so thrilled that Munya Chawawa is making his first long-form documentary for Channel 4, and like the man himself, it’s utterly original. A fresh mix of contemporary history, biography and personal journey, it’s revelatory, eye-opening and plays with form in the unique way only Munya could pull off.”

Morgan Roberts, Executive Producer at Rumpus Media added: “We are so proud to have worked with Munya on this truly unique documentary. His brilliant ability to blend intelligence, insight, heart and humour with Cecil Rhodes impersonations is a rare and beautiful gift.”

The documentary was commissioned by Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual at Channel 4. It is written and presented by Munya Chawawa with Joe McCardle also on board as writer. Executive Producers are Morgan Roberts and Iain Wimbush. The director is Paul Taylor, the producers are Munya Chawawa and Beya Kabelu. Production Executive is Hannah Stupple and the Production Managers are Lucy Cartledge and Rebecca Gilchrist.

Jon Creamer

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.