“Please don’t let this talent die, do something about it.” These were the late comedian Lawrence “Mudhara Bhonzo” Simbarashe’s words to his son Tatenda Terrence some moments before he died.
It seemed Mudhara Bhonzo knew that he was in the last stretch of his life and he requested Tatenda to shave him as he lay on his bed at Chitungwiza Central Hospital on Saturday, a few hours before his death.
The comedian, who will be buried tomorrow at Zororo Cemetery along Seke Road, succumbed to hypertension in the evening of the same day and his widow Pain Banda says the events of the day showed that he was sensing his death.
“I thought it was just one of his jokes but those were his last words to his son. He told him not to let the talent die and that was the last time he spoke to Tatenda,” she said.
Tatenda was not available for comment and she could not say how he felt about the mission bestowed on him by his dying father. But she believes her husband saw death coming.
“I think he had already seen the signs that he was dying. On Saturday morning, my husband asked my son, Tatenda, to shave him and he did so. I was there on his bedside when he died. He had told Tetenda about his talent. I believe he wanted Tatenda to emulate him.
She said the death was a great loss to the family and the nation because of his status in the arts industry.
Few people attended the funeral yesterday afternoon and Banda was surprised by how people seemingly failed to give befitting honour to her husband.
“My husband was a great man as he mentored a lot of actors. He was a role model to many. So far very few notable people have come to pay their respects. I noticed Minister Mahendere and Elijah Madzikatire who paid their condolences. His partner in comedy Timothy Tapfumaneyi who played Timmy in the comic series ‘Bhonzo Nechikwata’ was also here. As you can see I am actually surprised with the turnout, maybe vanhu vachiri kumabasa havo,” she said.
Banda said they were waiting for their son John who was scheduled to arrive yesterday from South Africa so they could bury her husband.
“Other relatives have gone to Harare Hospital to visit my aunt who is sick. When they return we will begin arrangements for the burial. It is a difficult time for us. The situation here is not good considering status yamudhara. My son is coming for the funeral wake then we take the body for burial. Unfortunately his other children Leona in Australia and Simbarashe (Jnr) in the United Kingdom said they are not able to come but we will proceed with the programme,” she said.
She said, as Zanu Pf chairperson in St Mary’s, she managed to get support from well-wishers who include councillors, pastors and community leaders.
“I wouldn’t know what the nation or other celebrities and comedians are planning but so far we got a response from the community. Don’t be surprised with the turnout, they will come, but the burial will continue as planned. If anything comes from the arts sector it will be most welcome,” she said.
Mourners are gathered at 544 Mandebvu Street in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.