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National Hero Cont Mhlanga memorial set for tomorrow

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2022 at 06:37hrs | Views
THE memorial service for the late arts doyen Cont Mhlanga will be held tomorrow at the Amphitheatre in Bulawayo, before a drive through the city in his honour ahead of his burial in Lupane, Matabeleland North province, on Saturday.

Initially, Mhlanga's memorial service was pencilled for Amakhosi Township Square, but due to his public stature, it was moved to a bigger venue, Amphitheatre, according to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe executive director Mr Nicholas Moyo.

Mhlanga (64) died Monday morning at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) after being admitted for 10 days.

His family has said he succumbed to pneumonia.

The playwright established Amakhosi Theatre in 1981 where several artistes who passed through his hands became household names in Zimbabwe.

The legend wrote more than 20 plays among them The Good President, The End, Sinjalo, Children on Fire, Games and Bomb.

He also adapted the popular play Stitsha into a TV series and it featured the late Beatar Mangethe. He directed Bamqgibela Ephila and Omunye Umngcwabo.

Mhlanga also produced Amakorokoza and Sinjalo for ZBC.

He was the founding vice-chairperson of Fairtalk Communications, the parent company of Skyz Metro, Breeze FM and KeYona TV.

Upon retiring from the arts in 2016, Mhlanga relocated from Bulawayo to his rural home in Lupane, where he was rearing livestock.

In a statement, Mr Moyo said due to public interest, Mhlanga's family has decided to move the memorial from Amakhosi Township Square.

"In realisation of the public interests that this funeral has raised, the family decided to move the memorial service to a bigger venue," he said. "However, there will be a family service done at Amakhosi Township Square in the morning of Friday.

"In celebration of the life of the legendary Cont Mhlanga, a send-off memorial service will be held at Bulawayo Amphitheatre on Friday 5 August at 9AM. The memorial service will be held to celebrate his life and honour the contributions he has made in the arts and culture sector and Zimbabwe and beyond.

"A drive through the city will be done before the funeral cort├Ęge proceeded to Lupane for the burial, which will be held on Saturday morning."

Mr Moyo said preparations for taking Mhlanga to his final resting place are going on smoothly led by an organizing team comprising family members, artistes, Bulawayo City Council and Government.

He said the team was grateful to the community of Bulawayo for the goodwill offered for various services to be provided to accord Mhlanga a funeral befitting his status and legacy.

Mr Moyo said the family thanked President Mnangagwa for according Mhlanga a State-assisted-funeral as this has gone a long way in addressing some of the key costs of services associated with a funeral of that magnitude.

"The family would like to thank those who have stood by them through this very difficult time and are eternally grateful for all the support and presence from all over the world," he said. "We are looking forward to celebrating the life that will be dearly missed.

"Zimbabwe has lost a great son and a national asset, the creative and cultural industry has remained poorer by the departure of such an illustrious creative."

On Tuesday, President Mnangagwa mourned Mhlanga, saying the country lost an internationally acclaimed playwright, filmmaker and creative director who came as a trailblazer in the country's creative and cultural industries.

He accorded Mhlanga a State-assisted-funeral and $2,5 million to help with the funeral arrangements.

Born Mdladla Mhlanga, on March 16, 1958, in Lupane, Mhlanga is survived by six children and one grandchild.

His father was Dickson Mbikwa and his mother was Sarah Danile and was born at Fatima Mission.

He learnt at Shabula Primary School and Fatima Primary. For his secondary education he learnt at Fatima High School from one to form two, then from three to form four he went to Sobukazi High School in Bulawayo.

Source - The Herald
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