American actor, musician, poet and social activist, Antonio Lyons, will play the role of the last king of the Kwanyama and Namibian hero, Mandume Ya Ndemufayo, in the upcoming local feature film, The Unseen.
The Unseen is an independent film directed by Perivi Katjavivi with emphassis on art, identity and solitude. It presents three vignettes that follow three different characters as they slip into spaces in Namibian society, mostly unseen. There’s Sara, the rebel whose calm resolve to end her life provokes a range of interesting and conflicting reactions in the people close to her. Anu, a dreamy musician, struggles to explain his hallucinations and out of body experiences to his rough-neck buddies across town. Marcus, an African-American actor, Estranged from his wife, is in town to play a role in an epic historical film but spends his time wandering through the outback searching for significance.
“It’s a collection of philosophical musings on what it means to be alive in independent Namibia. It intentionally blurs the line between fiction and documentary. We want to raise questions as to why this story is untold. It’s an adventure of discovery. I’m excited to get started on this project,” says Perivi. Lyons who has been invited to portray the part of Marcus in The Unseen, arrived in Windhoek very unsure if he is the right person to portray such a heroic icon of this country. He went on a Namibian journey in search of understanding who Mandume was, and whether he is really the right man to bring Mandume’s life to the screen.
Marcus travelled to the homestead of the Kwanyama Queen in his hope to meet her, shed light on his decision and get her blessings for his portrayal of this legendary Namibian Hero.
“This is deep for me. Namibian stories carry a lot of weight and it would be a challenge because I don’t have that experience of how to sacrifice for your people but as an actor every story is intensively valuable and important to me,” says Antonio.
Antonio is known for American History X (1998), Hotel Rwanda (2004) and The Sum of All Fears (2002). Production is set to be done towards the end of the year.