By Bongani Ndlovu
On Saturday, Zimbabwe was engulfed by sadness after the death of one of local television’s most famous personalities, Lawrence “Mdhara Bhonzo” Simbarashe.
Aged 69, his death at Chitungwiza clinic plunged the country’s arts sector into mourning as yet again, it had lost one of its most celebrated songs.Mdhara Bhonzo was a comic relief for many as he teamed up with Timothy Tapfumanei in the hit series of Timmy naBhonzo on ZBCtv.
This kept multitudes glued to the silver screen to see what the two fellows were up to. But Mdhara Bhonzo is most famous perhaps for the Perfection soap advert that was catchy and funny, which until this day, is rated as the best.
But towards the back end of his career, especially in 2011, Mdhara Bhonzo became destitute. He was spotted in the streets of Harare flagging down cars begging for money. Others saw him with a bible in hand and it was reported that he said the holy book was his only friend.
It was only the help of a group of politicians and business people in Harare that got him back on his feet for a little while as they donated food, clothing and contributed to his medical fees.
The pictures of Mdhara Bhonzo at his abode were tear-jerking, for a person who was a hero to many and even an inspiration to some to take up acting and even comedy.
This showed that the arts sector in Zimbabwe is ruthless and practitioners should make hay (make money and buy assets) while the sun is shining because winter (when your career is over) is a ruthless season.
Mdhara Bhonzo was one of the most successful artistes in the country as he made money from whatever he was doing. But according to media reports, all the money went down the drain as he drank it all.
During his finals years, his life was filled with misfortune as his house was gutted by fire, leaving him destitute. He later fell ill. As a survival tactic, he tried to bring back the Timmy naBhonzo series two years ago, but it was never the same as it failed to take off.
Even according to media reports, he was not on talking terms with his children from his first marriage Lawrence and Liona who are both overseas.
His current wife had reportedly abandoned him with his children from the second marriage Tatenda and John also not on talking terms with their now late father. The Chronicle