Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Meet Vharazipi’s ‘Mbuya Mai John’

By Tawanda Marwizi

Sabhuku Vharazipi real name David Mubayiwa peeps through reeds salivating at a woman doing her laundry with exaggerated energy.

Chikonye (inset) as Mbuya Mai John in “Sabhuku Vharazipi” series
Chikonye (inset) as Mbuya Mai John in “Sabhuku Vharazipi” series

He tip toes towards the lady, Mbuya Mai John (real name Kumbirai Chikonye) pretending to be unaware of her presence. “Pane vanogeza here apo? (Is there anyone taking a bath)” shouts Vharazipi.

Mbuya Mai John senses Vharazipi’s intentions and immediately reprimands him.

The scene aptly captures Mubayiwa and Chikonye’s cat and mouse relationship which makes the popular comedy interesting. Chikonye is only 35 but in the comedy she acts as a lady older than her real age who refuses to be abused by Vharazipi.

In real life she is married to one of main actors of the comedy Wellington “Chairman” Chindara. Chikonye told The Herald Entertainment in a recent interview that she started acting when she was at Christian High School in Masvingo.

“That was 1997 but it was not that serious because that time everyone was concentrating on her studies. I was in form 3,” she said. For her, acting was something else but she later gained confidence after her husband Chindara and other members came at the school conducting drama lessons.

That was the beginning of their life together as they got married in 2000. “When we got married it became easy for us to push our vision though we came across difficult times we tried our best,” she said.

Even if they had domestic problems with Chindara they would set aside and go for shoot in good mood. “Like any other marriage we have ups and downs but when it comes to shoot we set that side because that is where our bread is buttered,” she said.

She urged women in every society to stand their ground in defining their values and expose those who want to use their power to victimise them.

“That Vharazipi drama tells exactly what is going on in several communities but my role encourages women to stand their ground in exposing such. We need to eliminate any form of abuse in our society,” she said.

They are blessed with four children and some of them have featured on the same drama.

She wishes to spur the level of Stembeni Makawa. “She is my inspiration and I hope one day I will go beyond her levels,” Chikonye said. The Herald