Peter Langmead

Operas from Zambia

The Legend of Konga Mato

Peri Phiri meets the Lady in Black in the ForestPeri Phiri meets the Lady in Black in the forest


Not all is quiet in a small fishing village on the banks of the Jiunda Swamp: kongamato have been stealing cattle, and the chief calls headman Phiri to a meeting to decide what they are going to do about stopping them. Earlier in the day, the headman’s son, Peri, released a strange young and beautiful woman dressed in black, Belita, who he found with his friends tied to a tree in the swamp shortly before kongamato attack the village again, as the sun goes down, severely wounding headman Phiri. His father, not being able to travel to the chief’s palace, delegates the responsibility to his young son, much to the chagrin of the elders. Their view changes however when a young and beautiful woman dressed in back strides majestically into the village and walks straight to Peri, giving him a bundle wrapped in canvas, telling him to be careful. The group leave to march to the chief’s palace overnight: first they meet a hunting leopard, then they meet another mysterious Lady in Black, but older. As they near the palace, they are attacked by kongamato, which wound one of their number but they are somehow rescued by the strange Belita. After the battle for the road, they meet Konga Mato himself, the fiery king.

Not expecting to be further disturbed that night, the chief holds a welcoming dinner for his guests, only to be interrupted later by kongamato attacking the court house. Peri and his friends battle all night with the kongamato without much support from the chief or his indunas. It becomes clear that the attack and the fighting is about Konga Mato reaping his chief. Just in time, Belita, the chief’s adoptive daughter, who was meant to have been sacrificed in the Jiunda Swamp to Konga Mato by the chief’s indunas, arrives with an army of women from the West. Observers there were surprised that the kongamato just disappeared and it appears that Belita is in fact Princess Mato of legend, the fiery princess and long-lost daughter of Konga Mato. Peri is delighted to find Belita in the midst of the battle and declares his love for her, shortly before a final confrontation with Konga Mato as he comes to collect his chief. Neither Peri nor Belita can prevent this from happening but, in the kerfuffle, Konga Mato claims Belita as his princess and that Peri is a prince from distant place, declaring they are the new king and queen of the chiefdom. After that, life for the narrator becomes rather boring.

Damyna Damyna the Opera

The witch doctor, Paddy Mukando, creating mischiefThe witch doctor played by Paddy Mukando creating mischief.


A tranquil African village is thrown into turmoil when Damyna, a poor abandoned girl, becomes torn between her love for the boy she grew up with and the handsome, suave stranger who strides into her life. Damyna is brought up by a kindly ‘aunt’ who has paid off her father’s moneylender to secure the girl’s freedom. She grows into a young woman knowing that the aunt’s son, Por Phiri, is not her brother, contrary to his believe that they are siblings.

Trouble arrives when two dynamic consultants, Kati Pault and Given Chansa, arrive from the city on a mission to 'improve' the villagers’ farming skills. An interfering witch doctor ensures that Por falls in love with Kati and Given falls in love with Damyna, and the two villagers find themselves living the highlife in a cafe in town. But before matters get further out of hand, the witch doctor realises his mistake and attempts to reverse his spell, only to be faced with opposition from Damyna's adopted mother's husband, a lookalike who claims to be father of both Damyna and Por.

But Damyna's adoptive mother recognises their love and reveals her husband is not the father of her son, freeing Damyna and Por to marry while preserving her original secret of their uncommon heritage. The wedding scene reveals an unexpected guest: Damyna's high-ranking wayward real father – bearing a striking resemblance to the witch doctor who caused the mayhem in the first place.

The Next Movie

The script is prepared for my next movie and pre-production is in progress. This is the most time-consuming part of filmmaking and production is expected to begin at the end of the year,