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Actress Rutendo buried in Rusape

Multi-talented theatre, literature and performing arts and film actress Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu, who collapsed and died on June 6 in South Africa, was buried yesterday at SilverRow Cemetery in Rusape.

The late multi-talented theatre, literary and performing arts and film actress Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu
The late multi-talented theatre, literary and performing arts and film actress Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu

Rutendo’s body was brought home from South Africa on Saturday.

The funeral was attended by some local arts practitioners from theatre and film and authors.

Speaking on the sidelines of the burial, Rutendo’s uncle, Mr Oswald Chigudu Mashonganyika, said the burial proceedings went according to plan and now they were discussing the next move as a family.

“All went well according to our plan,” he said. “We arrived on Saturday and we travelled safely from South Africa. Right now we are in a family meeting and will update you on anything relevant that you might need to know.”

Rutendo’s friends, who caused a tiff with the family for allegedly initiating a GoFundMe campaign for her burial without the relatives’ blessings, said they would use the money to pay school fees for her children.

One of the friends, journalist and author Tendai “Sokostina” Garwe, who also attended the burial, said the money would be accounted for.

“We are using the money the friends collected to pay for the children’s fees,” she said. “I am travelling back to Harare from the burial right now. I am not sure of the amount raised so far, but it has exceeded US$1 000 and over $15 000.

“Her eldest daughter is going for Lower Sixth at Mt Selinda High, while the son is doing Form One at Craneborne Boys High. Some friends are yet to send their pledges as promised.”

Rutendo was studying towards her Masters in Applied Drama at Wits University in South Africa.

She has in the past worked for Patsime Trust, Almasi, Reps Theatre, Zimbabwe Women Writers Association, Star FM Radio, Sadc Arts Festival, ZB Bank amongst others.

She featured in many plays for the University of Zimbabwe Theatre Department which include Bus Stop Journals and in many Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) productions which include The Frog Queen, which earned her a NAMA 2007 Outstanding Theatre Actress nomination, and Wedding Day.

She starred in an emotional, musical and inspirational play, “Rituals”, which also won NAMA 2009 Outstanding Theatrical Production Award.

Rutendo acted in the popular feature film “Rujeko” by Shamaika, which was about a mentally disturbed deaf woman who lived in a park.

In the film, Rutendo was surrounded by lush greenery, ancient trees and beautiful birds, but she made the park her safe refuge in an unpredictable and often cruel world.

Despite being homeless, there is a radiance about her, an inability to hold a grudge, a child-like innocence that no one can take away from her.

However, mystery surrounds the circumstances that snatched her from her old life, rendering her homeless. The Herald

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