SEVERAL artistes who attended the burial of veteran actor and comedian Lawrence Simbarashe — popularly known as Mudhara Bhonzo — at Zororo Gardens Memorial Park yesterday lambasted the Arts ministry and National Arts Council of Zimbabwe for failing to send representatives to console the family.
BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
Those who spoke to NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the burial said the absence of the Sports, Arts and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe and NACZ acting director Nicholas Moyo — or their representatives reflected how those in authority did not value arts practitioners.
Top gospel musician, Michael “Minister” Mahendere, said it was shocking that, while Bhonzo entertained the nation since the 1980s and “contributed immensely” to the arts industry, the minister was absent at his funeral.
Bhonzo’s fellow actor and friend, Timothy Tapfumaneyi, said for a man who featured in 15 international films and acted alongside Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, he was surprised his death had not attracted the attention of NACZ.
“Is NACZ around? Tomorrow (today), we will go to NAC and Kazembe Kazembe’s offices to receive messages of condolences,” he said.
“If I get the opportunity to speak to the President, I will ask him to fire Kazembe Kazembe.”
Fellow actor, Daniel Mbanje, said it was high time artistes were honoured as was the case in other countries and he recalled how the country’s top actors always died in penury.
“Mudhara Paraffin and Mukadota just passed on in a similar way. Actors live in a sorry state,” he said.
The funeral was attended by Bhonzo’s neighbours and a few friends from the film industry and former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation staffers who also worked with the deceased.
Other actors said it appeared like the minister valued sportspersons more than artistes.
Bhonzo succumbed to diabetes on Saturday night at Chitungwiza Central Hospital. He left behind his wife, Pain Banda and three children.