Actor Bhonzo dies

HARARE - Veteran actor Lawrence Simbarashe, aka mdhara Bhonzo in showbiz circles thanks to popular television series Timmy naBonzo, has died.

Simbarashe died on Saturday at a Chitungwiza hospital reportedly due to diabetes and high blood pressure.

Mourners are gathered at house number 544 St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.

His co-actor Timothy “Timmy” Tapfumaneyi also confirmed the development.

“Yah to me I’m still in a state of shock, and it’s becoming difficult for me to really embrace the news that mdhara Bhonzo is no more. I can describe the magnitude of the loss because I worked with mdhara since I was a young boy. He nurtured me up until today. We worked together and travelled this journey together. I can’t tell my story without mentioning the name of mdhara Bhonzo.

Simbarashe rose to fame through various voice-overs, television adverts and acting. He became a charity case after his life made a U-turn and unfortunately died a pauper.

At his peak, Simbarashe lived a successful life characterised by designer clothes and owning 11 luxury vehicles but all went into oblivion following a spat of misfortunes that led him to lose his household property after his Chitungwiza house went into flames in 2012.

The house belonged to his parents.

The development had affected him to the extent that he often manifested mental instability.

Simbarashe made his name in the showbiz through a must-watch television comedy series Bhonzo Nechikwata (Timmy naBhonzo) in 1990s together with equally talented comedian Tapfumaneyi, Heat The Sun television mini-series as well as films such as The Slit (1996), Jit (1993) and Cry Freedom (1987) and Flame (1996) among others.

In 2016, several well-wishers, including social media brand ambassador Thomas Chizhanje and politicians, including Psychology Maziwisa among others took turns to donate goods to the late Simbarashe.

Mdhara Bhonzo’s last production was The Return of Timmy naBonzo drama-comedy released end of 2016 and it was a brainchild of Tapfumaneyi.

Some critics blamed Tapfumaneyi for neglecting mdhara Bhonzo during his last days.

“I know Zimbabweans, they talk too much, the reason why we did that DVD was to ensure that mdhara Bonzo gets income. It was my idea and there is no point yatakarasa mdhara,” Tapfumaneyi said.

In 2016, Elvas Mari, the former director of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, urged artistes to invest while they are still capable. He said this after realising that mdhara Bonzo was no longer able to carry out his work properly as he had lost his voice.

“Artists such as musicians and actors’ key tool are their voice and once the voice is gone, then it means they cannot work properly and this will impact negatively on their works.

“Artists should learn to look into the future and invest as life is full of dynamics. Investments are not only good for yourself but for the entire country,” said Mari then.

“We want to move away from the culture of begging. This can only be achieved if artists join or form associations which are fundamental to their welfare. There are some organisations such as Old Mutual which are keen in training people how to invest.”

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