|Born||Zakaria Arnold Shoko|
March 4, 1956
|Died||September 11, 2014(aged 58)|
|Resting place||Glen Forest, Domboshava|
|Other names||Shokomel, Shokolate'|
|Occupation||Producer/Director (Film and Drama), Journalist, Writer, Consultancy, Entrepreneur|
|Years active||1983 - 2014|
|Children||Komborerai Ariel Shoko, Kudzai Jones Shoko, Kudakwashe Arnold Jnr Shoko|
|Parent(s)||Chikehu, Shoko Snr|
Arnold Shoko was a ZBC producer and director.
After completing his O Levels at Chegato High School in Mberengwa where he was friends and studied together with the likes of Ozias Hove who s a member of the civil service commission by president Emerson Mnangagwa, He went to St. Edwards School in Mazvihwa, Zvishavane.
Arnold migrated to Bechuanaland in the late 70s, where he was accorded a scholarship by UNESCO to go study in Ghana. He stayed in Ghana for 5 years where he first completed his A levels then went on to study at National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) in Accra, Ghana. He majored in television production, graduating with a higher national diploma (1983), (Best graduating student). He graduated with his long time friend and workmate, Ramious Musasa who is now based in the US. While in Ghana, he shared the classroom with popular Ghanaian producers which include Charles Wilson, Charles Barker and Amina Misa (starred in a popular African movie called love brewed in a pot.
- ADVANCED TV DIRECTION TECHNIQUES ; COMMONWEALTH BROADCASTING ASSOCIATION 1996
- THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN CONFLICT, SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION AND MANAGING SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES ; 1996, RADIO NEDERLAND TRAINING CENTRE AT ZIMBABWE INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT (ZIPAM).
- 3rd AFRICAN STUDENT FILM AND TELEVISION FESTIVAL, ANIWA AFRICA, ACCRA GHANA (1997)
- PROJECT ORGANIZATION AND SELF MANAGEMENT FOR TV DRAMA PRODUCERS, TELEVISION TRAINING CENTRE BERLIN (1997).
- DET NORSKE VERITAS, QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGEMENT BRIEF. 2000
- TV PROGRAMME TRAINING MANAGERS, DEUTSCHE WELLE TELEVISION TRAINING CENTRE BERLIN IN COOPERATION WITH REPUT 2001 AND INPUT, CAPETOWN 2001.
- HND IN TELEVISION PRODUCTION NAFTI, ACCRA GHANA 1983
- GENERAL COURSE TELEVISION, RADIO NEDERLAND HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS 1986
- TRAINING THE TRAINERS COURSE TELEVISION, RADIO NEDERLAND HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS 1993.
After graduating at NAFTI, Arnold Shoko worked for Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC), and won an award for best television production (Enita). Later in September that year, Arnold Shoko returned home and got a job at ZBC the national broadcaster assuming the position of Television Producer (1984). He wrote and produced a drama in 1986, The toxic victim, which was about a girl who got affected by fumigation chemicals. Following this production, Shoko was awarded a scholarship by his employer to study in Hilversum, Netherlands at Radio Nederland Training Centre (RNTC) where he acquired a Certificate in General Course Television.
Upon return from Netherlands, Arnold produced Zim Life, written by Thompson Tsodzo, the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of sports, arts and culture. It featured, among others, Shuvai Chikomba, and Micheal Chinyamurindi who ended up in the United States.
In 1989, he produced and directed the Zimbabwean drama series And to my nephew Moses. A year later he produced the drama Nyasha Film, authored by Bertha Musora.
In 1993, he was again sent to Netherlands by the national broadcaster, where he attended a course in Training the Trainers Course Television. He was awarded a certificate of the Radio Nederland Training Centre in Hilversum. While in the Netherlands he starred in skits and ads for popular chocolate-flavored milk Chocomel, ergo his alias Shokomel was born.
In the mid 90s, Arnold directed the immensely popular and funny Sitcom Mutirowafanza, written by the late Simon Chuma which had been initially produced and directed by Ramious Musasa but later completed by him.
He also produced the drama Ndezvemeso, written by Thompson Tsodzo.
In 1993, with the help of a Pakistani Zill Atif, he produced a three-episode drama called Africa Audice. This was followed by Nherera (8th production), created by Goldsten Takavarasha.
In 1995, he once again produced the famous Taka, role played by Shuvai Chikomba and other big names such as Charles Mucheriwa.
In 1997, Arnold Shoko was sent to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he received an advanced Training in Project Organisation, self-Management for TV drama producers from Deutsche Welle Training Centre in Berlin.
Other dramas produced and directed by Arnold Shoko include Kuzvarira and Murambiwa.
Upon return, he assumed the position of acting Head Television Production, then Senior Production in Production Services Strategic Business Unit in 2001.
At the turn of the new millennium, Arnold Shoko worked on numerous productions which include
- Gringo Ndiani (2001) Produced and Directed by Arnold Shoko
- Cobra - Produced and Directed by Arnold Shoko (he co starred as Joe's father)
- Gringo Christmas presents - Produced and Directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo Christmas Dinner (2002) - Produced and Directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo Mari iripi ? (2003) - Produced and Directed by Arnold Shoko
- Studio 263 (2002) - Session director Arnold Shoko, written by Aaron Chiunduramoyo and Produced by Godwin Mawuru
- Tiriparwendo 2006 - written and produced by Aaron Chiunduramoyo, Directed by Arnold Shoko
- Battle of Sinoa (2011) - Produced by Arnold Shoko and directed by Nobert Fero. Never aired because of several political constraints of the Mugabe regime.
- Shoko - Still Waters Run Deep - 46-minute film featuring Sam Mtukudzi
He was retrenched from ZBC in 2002. He was later re-hired in 2006 on a freelance basis and eventually on full-time basis in 2009. He assumed his former position as Senior Producer/Director then got promoted to ZTV programmes commissioning officer, a position he held until his death. He was working on a document to train producers at ZBC on how to produce films, dramas and documentaries at the time of his death.
Shoko taught Journalism and Television at various institutions over the years which include Film School, Young Africa Skills Centre and CCOSA Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA). He taught students like Supa Mandiwanzira (former minister of ICT and courier services).
- THE GHANA BROADCASTING CORPORATION PRIZE FOR BEST TELEVISION PRODUCTION "ENITA" 1983
- ANGLO AMERICAN CORPORATION ZIMBABWE JOURNALISTIC AWARDS - AWARD FOR 1st RUNNER UP : TV PRODUCER OF THE YEAR (MUSIC AND DRAMA) 1990
- AIR ZIMBABWE CORPORATION NATIONAL JOURNALISTIC AND MEDIA AWARDS - AWARD FOR TV PRODUCER : ENTERTAINER (FIRST PRIZE) 1993.
- REUTERS NATIONAL JOURNALISTIC AND MEDIA AWARDS - AWARD FOR TV PRODUCER (ENTERTAINER, DRAMA, MUSIC, SPORTS) 1994.
- NATIONAL ARTS MERIT AWARDS BEST TV DRAMA SERIES - GRINGO NDIANI 2002
Shoko died in September 2014 at the age of 58. His wife, said that died on at CitiMed Hospital in Chitungwiza where he succumbed to hypertension..
Following the announcement of his death, Gringo writer Enock Chihombori commented:
In 1999, I worked on my second Gringo series with Chidzawo. I really was feeling comfortable working with this lady. In 2001, I got a phone call from ZBC. They wanted me to work on another script for a third Gringo series. I was shocked. It was not Chidzawo calling. It was Arnold Shoko. Apparently Dorothy Chidzawo was engaged in other ZBC work. I was going to work with Arnold Shoko. I was afraid. I was afraid, he might not appreciate the way I write.
Here was a vastly experienced producer about to work with a novice like me. I was very nervous the first time I had to meet him and discuss about the project. When I gave him the script, I thought he would start by criticising the way I wrote. To my surprise, here was an accommodating gentleman. He made me feel really comfortable in his company. It's not an understatement if I am to declare that we became instant friends rather than working colleagues. He diligently worked with me to produce Gringo Ndiani, which I still rate as the finest Gringo Script I ever wrote. After this production, we became so close that he used to visit my place of residence and we would discuss about future projects. During one of his visits, he discussed with me the idea of working on an action drama series based on boxing. He encouraged me so much such that I wrote the script for Cobra in less than 3 weeks. On Cobra, Arnold Shoko simply proved to me how dedicated he was to his profession. I never thought we would pull it off, but with him leading, we managed to organise all the equipment we needed and worked with a whole host of boxers and bouncers.
After Cobra, Arnold Shoko produced and directed two short Gringo dramas which I specifically wrote for the Christmas festive season. These were Gringo Christmas Presents and Gringo Christmas Dinner.
There was no rest. In 2003 I wrote another script for Gringo titled Gringo Mari Iripi. My bond or friendship with Arnold Shoko had grown such that, there was no doubt as to who was going to produce the drama. For this drama, we had limited resources, but we persevered. It was the most difficult production I ever worked on with Arnold Shoko.
Arnold's 3 sons Komborerai, Kudzai and Kudakwashe (Arnold jnr) have played roles in local soapies including Tiriparwendo. Kudakwashe Arnold Jnr also played roles in Gringo (Christmas dinner) and Battle of Sinoa, the movie. All the sons are also recording artists and the eldest (Komborerai) is a music producer based in Windhoek, Namibia.
His wife is called Amai Chocolate by the people around her, after Shoko's nickname.