Mother denies Vimbai has identity crisis
By Richmore Tera
Tracey Mutinhiri, mother to Zimbabwe’s Big Brother Amplified housemate, Vimbai, believes her daughter is not a victim of identity crisis as some viewers would like to believe.
The sentiments follow Vimbai’s accent which sounds too “Americanised”, a trait that raised eye-brows over whether she was truly a Zimbabwean. “I don’t think she is a victim of an identity crisis. It is just because of her educational background that her accent sounds too American.
“Remember she attended the International School of Belgrade in Serbia, Yugoslavia, when she was only five. She skipped first grade from kindergarten to second grade because of her intelligence and IQ. She also went to boarding school in England at St Edwards in Oxford before going to university in South Africa.
“But each time she came back home I would make sure that she would come to a Zimbabwean home where Shona is the mother language,” she said. Mai Mutinhiri, Labour and Social Services deputy minister, was speaking through a tele-interview from Bulawayo where she was attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
Vimbai’s eldest sister, Belinda, a Harare socialite concurred with her mother about her younger sister, saying: “The International School of Belgrade predominantly had American teachers and students. Our parents were diplomats in Yugoslavia and that’s where she picked up the American accent because the teachers there were American and the kids around her spoke American English.
“But she is very Zimbabwean and people shouldn’t be distracted by her accent. In fact, when we were growing up, we were not allowed to speak in English and our parents always insisted that we speak in Shona since we were Shona girls.” Mai Mutinhiri said she was proud to have a daughter who was representing Zimbabwe in the reality show.
She also expressed confidence that the model would bring the big prize home. “As a mother I am very proud to have a daughter who is representing Zimbabwe in the house. She is a very patriotic girl, meaning she is very proud of her country. She can bring the prize home because she is a very confident, strong and will-powered girl. She is not a push-over.”
The deputy minister confessed that she is a big fan of Big Brother, which she watches religiously, taking time off her busy schedule to support her daughter’s cause in the house. “Yes, I watch and enjoy it. It is only that right now I am busy at the Trade Fair where we have a stand. But when I am at home, I follow it a lot,” she said. But what does she think of Big Brother as a parent?
“I think it is something that brings young African people together and understand each other and their backgrounds, cultures and skills.” Mai Mutinhiri, however, scoffed at allegations that Vimbai was once on drugs. This follows rumours that the model once collapsed after a drug overdose. She dismissed as a “smear campaign” by people who didn’t want to see her making it in Big Brother.
“Vimbai has been staying with me ever since she came back home from abroad. “She has never stayed on her own, even when she was out of the country attending school and she has never been into drugs. “She is a God-fearing child, whose father (Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri) is a disciplinarian and Vimbai wouldn’t do that.
“It’s just smear campaign by people who don’t want to see her up there.” She said she brought her children well in a Christian environment, which explains Vimbai’s character. “I made every effort to bring her up well in a Christian environment since my family is a Christian family. “That explains why she is a very quiet girl with a very loving personality.
“She is a very determined person and a goal-getter who wants to achieve something once she has set her mind on it. “She was very popular at school in Yugoslavia,” she said.
Belinda was equally shocked at the drugs claim. “Where are you getting this story from, and are you going to write that? “My sister is against drugs, she has never taken drugs before. I am so hurt by that because there is nothing like that.” Vimbai is the last born child in a family of four. Vimbai’s parents are divorced. The Herald