By Samuel Kadungure
The death of comedian Lazarus ‘Gringo’ Boora has halted plans to produce the ‘Troublemaker Part 2’ comedy as the crew ponders on a suitable character to fill the comedian’s big shoes.
Gringo succumbed to stomach cancer and was buried in Rukweza, Nyazura last Thursday.
Actor William Matenga who features in the Gringo series as Gweshegweshe rued the comedian’s death and said their plans have been put on hold.
“Gringo was a rare comedian. He could see the invisible side of things and bring it into reality. Plans were afoot to produce “Gringo Troublemaker Part 2”, but it is no longer achievable. I do not foresee it becoming a reality as Gringo is no more.
“He was the main character and he is irreplaceable. Where can you find such a versatile character?,” said Matenga.
A father of seven — sired with four women — Gringo made his television debut in 1997 in the drama ‘Chihwerure’, which was produced by Enock Chihombori.
He hogged the limelight after featuring as the main actor in a series of TV dramas – ‘Gringo Ndiani’, ‘Gringo Mari Iripi’ (2003), and ‘Gringo Troublemaker’ (2013).
In ‘Gringo Troublemaker’, Boora was the main character in a cast that had Matenga as Gweshegweshe, the late Stembeni Makawa (Mai Gweshegweshe), Blessing Chimhowa (Mbudziyadhura) and Memory Makuri (Madhumbe).
Gringo was one funny character who would leave viewers in stitches by his mere appearance.
“We thought he would recover and start the production of ‘Gringo Troublemaker Part 2’. We were so optimistic but it is tough to believe that Gringo has joined the long list of actors who are no more — Makawa and John Banda, among others,” said Matenga.
Another actor, Chati Butao, who also acted in ‘Gringo Troublemaker’ as Godobori, said Gringo was a self-effacing person who wanted to see other artistes excelling in their endeavours.
“I did not start working with Gringo on ‘Gringo Troublemaker’. We started working together in the early 90s in community halls as we did theatrical dramas. We used to visit schools performing there.
“Gringo’s character never changed. What he was doing back then is what he continued doing until his death. He was always ready to teach others and we would consult him on a lot of things. He helped us on a number of issues in the film industry,” said Butao.
The doctor who was attending to him, Dr Johannes Marisa, said Gringo’s stomach cancer had spread to other parts of the body, thereby making it difficult to contain.
“Gringo had stomach cancer which had spread to some parts of the body. It seems he suffered a lot in the past months, but didn’t know about his condition. It was too late for us to save him,” he said.
Gringo’s wife, Netsai Meki, described his death as the worst tragedy to hit her family.
She said the comedian was a responsible husband.
“He died when I least expected it. He left a deep wound in my life that will be difficult to heal. I do not know how the children and I will make it without him. He was a responsible husband and father.
“He left behind a very young family. The youngest is a year and four months old. I want to thank Dr Marisa for the free medical assistance he gave him. We stayed in the hospital for almost a week with everything provided for free,” said Meki, who first met Gringo at the intersection of Angwa Street and Robert Mugabe Road in Harare in 2006.
Meki said Gringo’s last moments were painful.
“It was so painful because he could not talk to me. If I called his name, he would twist his head towards me without saying a word or opening his eyes. I was by his bedside day and night. At some stage he started plucking off drips and oxygen tubes, and that is when I began to sense danger. It pained me when he was confirmed dead because I was not expecting it,” said Meki.
Meki said they were badly affected when the rumour mill was awash with Gringo’s death while he was still alive.
“We were actually doing his X-rays when people began calling passing their condolences.
‘‘I had his phone, and he would overhear the conversations, just imagine. I was forced to switch off all the phones as it was weighing heavy on us,” she said. The Manica Post