Zimbabwe: arts industry stalked to death in 2021


The local entertainment industry was hit hard by the demise of major players which included poets, promoters, actors, visual artists, television and theater creators, writers and musicians.

As we bid farewell to the year 2021 in 16 days, it is necessary to remember these influential stars whose talent impacted the lives of many throughout the year and whose untimely deaths. have had an impact on the country.

Thompson Dondo (promoter)

Businessman and arts promoter Thompson Dondo died on January 2 from kidney failure and was buried in Hokonya village, Chivhu.

Dondo was the general manager of the Impala Car Rental Group car rental.

He was 48 years old and is survived by his wife Matirasa and his three children Ngonidzashe, Ruvarashe and Mudiwa.

Dondo was well known for pushing the career of his son Ngonidzashe, affectionately known as King 98, who collaborated with giants such as Nasty C, Zlatan Ibile, LayLizzy, and Davido, among others.

Dennis Wilson (radio personality)

Radio personality Dennis Wilson died on January 6 at the age of 66 at his home in Alexandra Park, Harare, following a short illness.

ZBC Radio 3’s DJ and reggae icon was born Delroy Wilson in Kingston, Jamaica.

Wilson started working for Radio 3 at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in the 1980s and was a renowned reggae DJ and producer in Jamaica, UK and Zimbabwe.

Lazare Takawira (sculptor)

Prominent sculptor Lazarus Takawira succumbed to Covid-19 on January 13.

He was 69 years old.

Born in Nyanga in 1952, Takawira celebrates women through his sculptures.

Much of his career has focused on the female figure and he has openly expressed his love for the women in his life.

From the end of the 1970s, Lazare devoted himself to stone sculpture and with his brothers they took a different trajectory from that of other artists, favoring the hardest stones like marble and dolomite and in leaving much of it in its natural state.

His work was also influenced by Frank McEwen, the first director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

Takawira then took this to heart and enjoyed giving Shona titles to some of his sculptures like “Muroora”, “Ambuya” and “Amai”.

Between his career as an artist, Takawira briefly joined the police force and then permanently settled down as a stone artist and achieved success.

As an international artist, he traveled to different countries and exhibited his works. Some of his works have been permanently collected by institutions such as the World Bank, the Museum of African Art Collection in Paris, as well as the Prince Charles Collection in London.

Soul Jah Luv (musician)

Zimdancehall singer Soul Jah Love, real name Soul Musaka, died on February 16 in Mbuya Dorcas hospital.

He was 31 years old.

The hitmaker “Pamamonya” was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

According to the doctor’s report, Soul Jah Love did not have a pulse on admission and his blood sugar was high.

He was declared a hero of the liberation and was buried in Warren Hills cemetery.

Rashid Jogee (visual artist)

Veteran visual artist Rashid Jogee died on March 4 from a short illness.

He was 70 years old.

Rashid was to be honored as a visual arts legend on March 27 along with other arts legends, but fate would see him elevated to higher glory before the date of the award.

The NACZ gong was handed over to Rashid’s brother by the Director General of the Ministry of Youth, Sports, the Arts and Recreation, Dr Benson Martins Dube.

Anne Nhira (actress)

Former popular Studio 263 actress Anne Nhira, who played Vimbai Jari in the soap opera, died on March 8.

She was 38 years old.

Her brother Juan Nhira said she died of injuries sustained in a robbery in Bedfordview, an affluent suburb of South Africa where she had moved.

Nhira received a state-assisted funeral.

Friday Mbirimi (jazz crooner)

Zimbabwean jazz legend Friday Mbirimi, who was part of a popular township jazz group, the Mbare Trio, died on April 6.

Mbirimi’s death came barely a year after the death of his brother Lovejoy who was also part of the jazz band.

Mbare Trio consisted of Friday Mbirimi, Lovejoy Mbirimi and William Kashiri.

Chocolate (dancer)

Dancer and singer Melody “Chocolate” Musekiwa, known for her striking dance moves, died on April 19 from kidney failure.

Musekiwa, who was the ex-wife of Rockford musician “Roki” Josphat, died at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare.

She was 35 years old and is survived by her daughter Dawn (10 years old).

Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu

(theater actress)

Multi-talented TV host, film actress and writer Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu (35) collapsed and died on May 6 at Wits University in South Africa.

Chigudu was studying towards his Masters of Arts in Applied Theater at the university.

She has worked for Patsime Trust, Almasi, Reps Theater, Zimbabwe Women Writers Association, Star FM Radio, Sadc Arts Festival and ZB Bank.

Chigudu also worked for Nehanda Radio in various capacities during his formative years.

She had a popular column on the Nehanda Radio ## RatedLoose website with Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu.

Never Gasho (musician)

Popular jazz musician Never Gasho, known as Chief Mutota in showbiz, succumbed to Covid-19 on May 10 at his home in Karoi.

Tomato (actor)

Prominent Mbare-based street actor Lot Magarianzo, affectionately known as Tomato, died aged 29 on June 23.

According to a friend, Fantan, Tomato was hospitalized for a week with a stroke, swollen legs and water in his heart.

Helen Lieros (visual artist)

Veteran visual artist Helen Lieros passed away on July 14 after a brief illness. She was 80 years old.

Helen was a quintessential visual artist, with several works of art in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

Newton Cheza Chozengwa

(mbira player)

Popular gwenyambira Newton Cheza Chozengwa died on July 18 from a brief illness. His friend and colleague mbira player Wilfred Nyamasvisva MaAfrika announced his death on social networks.

Nyamasvisva is the leader of the revered Mbira Mawungira Enharira ensemble.

Edronce Rukodzi (sculptor)

The great sculptor Edronce Rukodzi died on July 28.

Rukodzi, born in 1952 in Guruve, succumbed to Covid-19 while he was in Guruve.

He rose to fame in the 90s when his works began to receive international attention, although his beginnings date back to the 1970s in Tengenenge.

He was introduced to sculpture by his close relative Henry Munyaradzi during the time he was sculpting in his spare time.

His work is part of the permanent collection on display at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport alongside works by great artists such as Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Dominic Benhura and Agnes Nyanhongo.

Lynsey Chenai Mabwere

(dancer / choreographer)

Talented dancer, choreographer and creative director Lynsey Chenai Lynn Mabwere died on November 2 on her way to hospital from respiratory problems.

She was 32 years old.

Lynsey was part of the dance duo, Sheroes, with Kudzanai Kandiwona.

She was nominated for the Outstanding Female Dancer Award by the National Arts Merits Award (NAMA). She has also performed in South Africa and China over the years.

Cuthbert Maziwa

(arts administrator, musician)

Death has continued to haunt the arts sector this year, although only as recently as Tuesday this week, when the former director of the Murewa Cultural Center, Cuthbert Kuchi Maziwa (67), passed away from a short illness.

During his career with the Zimbabwe National Arts Council, Maziwa held various roles and was at the forefront of transforming the Murehwa Arts Culture Center into a renowned center of art and cultural heritage in Zimbabwe home to the Jerusarema Mbende, which was proclaimed inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

Born October 9, 1954 in Murehwa, Maziwa founded the rock and roll group Eye Q in the mid-1970s with his classmate Herrington Nyamariva on bass, Phineas Marumahoko on drums and vocals and Solomon Chiweshe on keyboard and vocals. song.

With Maziwa on lead guitar, the group became very popular after the release of “Please the Nation,” a political song that became a hit single.

The group went on to release seven other notable singles, including “I am selfish”, “Lonely”, “Widow” and “Making a life out of Music”.

Maziwa ventured into the arts administration on September 1, 1994, he joined NACZ as Head of Headquarters Projects and Training.

In June 2007 he was appointed Senior Program Manager and in May 2010 he became Director of the Murehwa Culture Center, a position he held until his retirement on December 31, 2016.

Maziwa was an accomplished artist and among his many accomplishments he was famous for founding the world organization for the musical arts, Music Crossroads, which has now grown into a full-time music and arts school.

He has also spent much of his life coordinating and organizing the Mashonaland East Cultural Arts Festival (MECUFA) which ran alongside the Jerusarema Mbende Festival.

Maziwa had a natural expertise in the creation, development and curation of artistic ideas into living creative testimonies and his name will resonate for years in the Zimbabwean arts sector as he has been an active participant for decades as a multi-player musician. genre, artist, singer, acclaimed guitarist, accomplished arts administrator and seasoned curator of the Arts and Culture Festival.

After retiring from NACZ, Maziwa founded the National Training and Conference of Arts in Zimbabwe (NATCAZ), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the growth of the arts and cultural industries in Zimbabwe which he led as director executive.


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