Jimmy Jimalo remembered

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Family, friends and relatives on Saturday took time to remember the late socialite James Chiyangwa at a memorial service held at the now famous Chiyangwa village in Zvimba.
Chiyangwa died a month ago after a long struggle with cancer.

Scores of people from various corners of the country converged for another stylish ceremony at the gigantic Chiyangwa homestead characterised by pomp and fanfare.

The event was unlike others that many may have come across. An air of harmony circulated in the family as they bestowed the vacated unifying role to Jimalo’s cousin Raymond, who has unanimously been voted the successor.

The event was mainly taken to distribute Jimalo’s clothes and some of his disposable belongings.
His estate, including his bus company, bottle stores, houses and a host of other businesses were left untouched.

“His son Munyaradzi has been tasked with caring for his father’s businesses,” said Sekuru Magaya, brother to Jimalo’s mother.

“Munyaradzi, who was based in Australia, is now back home after his uncle Phillip advised him to come home,” he added.

Sekuru Magaya said he was pleased everything had worked out smoothly at the ceremony.
“I am happy that there were no hustles at the ceremony. It goes to show that the family is united.

“To me what is rather painful is the fact that Jimalo is gone. He would come here every fortnight and he made sure that everyone was catered for but now it is going to be very difficult for anyone who is to fill in his position,” said Sekuru Magaya.

After the distribution of his clothes, vivid memories of the late Futumuka Fulangenge were evoked by numerous young men donning some of his famous flamboyant clothing.

The climax of the day came at lunch time when close relatives, senior members of the family together with Chief Zvimba were treated to a sumptuous buffet.

Even as most people had resigned, leaving the table with tummy-fulls, another catering van arrived at the homestead with more food.

Takeaways were offered in doggy packs but half of the food still remained untouched, forcing Jimalo’s brother, Phillip Chiyangwa to donate all leftovers to a nearby hospital.

In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of the memorial service, Chiyangwa said it was going to be difficult for him and the rest of the family to find solace after his younger brother’s demise.

“James was the face of this family. Whenever I could not attend a family gathering this was done by him because when it was my turn I was just too busy to do it.

“I always had him by my side and I was always content that every other project that I had started and could not pursue he took over.

“I am happy though that besides there being Phillip Chiyangwa as one of the most famous people in the country, Jimalo has shown me what fame means. I never imagined such a huge send off especially it being my own brother,” said Chiyangwa.

Among crowds at the ceremony, people could be heard saying Jimalo had the biggest send off in Zvimba. They said the number of people who gathered could only be compared to those that gathered at the late Sabina Mugabe’s (President Robert Mugabe’s sister) funeral.

Continued Chiyangwa: “Jimalo was the brother he had to be. When the time came for me to stop involving myself in smaller businesses, he came and took over.”