MP extends generosity to destitute Bhonzo

HARARE - Lawrence Simbarashe, 63, popularly known as Mudhara Bhonzo, was a highly-respected veteran broadcaster and actor in several small screen comedies, but is now broke and has no job prospects on the way.

His destitution prompted Highfield West legislator and deputy Zanu PF spokesperson Psychology Maziwisa to come to his aid last weekend.

The visit showed Bhonzo was a fallen star who has ended up lost, desperate, and nearly destitute.

The former actor said the tide turned in 2012 when his house was burnt to ashes, losing all his valuables, including household property.

Noting that the once famed comedian, who has been nominated for the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) had fallen on hard times, the lawyer-cum-legislator visited “Mudhara Bhonzo”’s ramshackle house in St Mary’s in Chitungwiza. 

This is a sad story and similar to the tales of many struggling actors.  What makes the story unique, however, is that most
actors who are nominated for Nama rarely go through the slump Bhonzo is going through.

Given that Bhonzo rose to fame through various voice overs, television
adverts and acting and is now penniless, betrayed entertainment as a very fickle business, and not a very good place to get rich.  

Maziwisa managed to gather groceries, clothing, medication, a bed, a TV and some cash for Bhonzo’s general upkeep.

The handover captured a tearful reaction by the actor when he received the gifts.

“It’s not much but it’s a start and certainly better than nothing,” Maziwisa told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

He encouraged people to give more for charity and help the poor.

“After news broke out that Bhonzo was in dire straits, I just felt that something needed to be done,” Maziwisa said.

“For me personally, because my parents are late, helping someone like Bhonzo felt like helping my own father.

“Bhonzo entertained us all for more than a decade with his
extraordinary sense of humour and putting a smile on his face was, I felt, the least we could do in the circumstances.

“I hope this gesture can gradually grow into something that can help to assist people like him on a national scale.”

He said plans are afoot to set up a long-term income generating project for him.

Zimbabweans’ track record in philanthropy is abysmal.

Maziwisa said besides himself, Stanley Kasukuwere, Tongai Kasukuwere, Gilbert Sawana, Nomathemba Primrose Ndebele, Thomas Chizhanje, H-Town Swagger, Jacqueline Tinovimbika Ngarande and Lilian Choruwa-Chabuka all chipped in.

Experts in the arts industry said it was absolutely important for actors to have good attorneys and agents in place before they sign contracts  which in most instances give companies all of the upside.

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