Gringo’s burial on today

THE late popular actor Lazarus “Gringo” Boora, who succumbed to cancer on Monday morning at a private health institution in Harare, will be buried today at his rural home in Rukweza, Rusape.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Yesterday, scores of mourners gathered to bid farewell to Gringo at his relative’s house in Zimre Park, Harare, before the body was taken to his rural home to lie in state ahead of the burial.

Speakers at the funeral wake described Gringo as a legend in his trade who brought joy and laughter to many households.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Nicholas Moyo said they had partnered with Nyaradzo Funeral Services to give Gringo a fitting send-off as he was a legend in his craft.

“We want to thank Nyaradzo for the assistance rendered to Gringo. They said to the Minister (without giving the name) ‘don’t worry, Gringo made an impact on the showbiz industry in Zimbabwe, so as Nyaradzo, a company that works with the people, we want to give a dignified send off to our hero’. They stood up as a company for a brief suspended their funeral policy regulations to help our hero,” he said.

“The arts industry is not a welfare case, it’s not a charity or social case. There are many artists that are doing extremely well and there are many artists who are and have been helping other artists grow.”

The Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA), which had pledged their services to save the life of Gringo, urged artists to be united and to form associations that would help in times of distress.

“Arts industry has a weakness, it is a profession that has no unity at all, a profession that thinks when I am alright today, and I will not have problems tomorrow. Let me warn you, that medical calamities can befall you anytime,” MDPPZA president Johannes Marisa said.

“You can be involved in an accident today and go, you can have COVID-19 today and depart from us, you can also even have tuberculosis, asthma or stroke and leave us. So why is it that when you want assistance, when we want you to fundraise for your fellow artists, you are nowhere to be found. You must be united.”

He said he was giving free services to the artists because he had learnt that the industry lacked direction.

“I believe it is the duty of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry to take control of this industry. We cannot have a situation where many of us as prominent figures come with a lot of money when someone has died, while we could not do the same when someone was sick and in need,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the church service, traditionalist Oman Kamwelo Banda, popularly known as Sekuru Banda, said he would honour his pledge to build a house for the deceased entertainer.

“Gringo was a good teacher through his art. As I had pledged to build a house for him before his death, I am sticking to my pledge and I promise I will do that for his family. Also, we will hand over some money to his family so that it can start a business,” he said.

“We are going to work together with his family for them to undertake their desired projects as earlier agreed before the death of Gringo. We thank all those who gave their support, among them Dr Johannes Marisa and his association’s colleagues and the government at large,” he said.

Gringo’s acting career began when he appeared on a TV commercial for Castle Lager and he later on worked for the now defunct Joy TV where he appeared on some TV shows.

He carved his name with the popular drama series Gringo, where he shared the platform with one of the country’s best actresses, the late Sthembeni Makawa who played the role of Mai Gweshegweshe.

Gringo was arguably one of the best actors of his generation as he played the role of a notorious gardener who used unscrupulous means to “fix” his errors.

He is survived by wife Netsai Meki and seven children.

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