THE death of Lawrence “Mudhara Bhonzo” Simbarashe on Saturday evening has left the local film industry gutted.
BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
The actor — whose contribution was never fully rewarded — will be buried on Wednesday.
The celebrated thespian died at around 7pm on Saturday at Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
Mudhara Bhonzo’s sister, Anna Banda, yesterday told NewsDay Life & Style they were currently processing the burial arrangements while waiting for his parents.
“We are waiting for his parents to arrive, so we will likely lay him to rest on Wednesday. We are currently processing the burial order and we are going to take his body to KC Funeral. His death was as a result of (high) blood pressure,” she said, adding that the place of burial was yet to be finalised.
Those that worked with Mudhara Bhonzo described his death as a big blow.
Timothy “Timmy” Tapfumanei, long-considered Mudhara Bhonzo’s sidekick following their combination in the Timmy naBhonzo comedy, said Simbarashe was like a father to him.
“We worked together since I was a boy. He was like a father to me, a mentor and friend. It’s really a big loss not only to me or my colleagues, but to the family and the nation at large. It’s quite a big loss,” he said.
Tapfumanei said efforts were underway to revive Mudhara Bhonzo’s acting career after he had fallen on hard times.
“About two years ago, we did The Return of Timmy naBhonzo to try and get him something to do, looking at the condition he had been under. It was a way of helping him out. He could earn money from selling DVDs,” he recalled.
Tapfumanei said the follow-up project was still underway at the time of his death.
Charles Jackson, popularly known as Doesmatter to television viewers, said Simbarashe was his “teacher”, who helped him understand broadcasting.
“He picked me at the high schools drama competitions and expressed interest to nurture my skill,” he said, adding that his health condition at the time of his death was heart-breaking.
Doesmatter said they were doing the best they could to assist him and “he was not neglected”.
Another popular actor, Stephen Chigorimbo, known as Mdara Huni on the soapie Studio 263, said Mudhara Bhonzo’s death was “a great loss to the acting fraternity” and he would cherish the moments he worked with him on several film projects, including the classic anti-apartheid film Cry Freedom.
“His performance in that production complimented the then young Denzel Washington. I have lost a friend and colleague,” Chigorimbo said.
Malon Murape, the director of Mapeto, a new movie that featured Mudhara Bhonzo, said: “He really did well (in the movie). In fact, one of his scenes went viral on WhatsApp. He was a very talented actor and it was an honour to work with someone so distinguished.”
Richard “Uncle Richie” Matimba said he was saddened by the death after having developed strong friendship with Mudhara Bhonzo during the production of Mapeto in 2016.
Mudhara Bhonzo is survived by his wife, Pain Mugura, and three children.