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Bhonzo hurt by negative publicity

Veteran actor Lawrence “Bhonzo” Simbarashe says the agonising tale of misery and shame that has been attached to his legacy has affected his self-actualisation in society.

By Kennedy Nyavaya

The actor, who was a marvel on the small screen from the 90s right into the new millennium, made some money and name, but both went up in smoke in the twinkle of an eye.

Currently, Mudhara Bhonzo has become a riches to rags story. The loss of his most valued tool, his voice, has not made things any better.

“Negative publicity pulled me down, although I know it’s useless to talk about it now. So, I should not make my relatives and friends happy with comedy? But I will find someone who will take me to my level and I am ready,” Bhonzo told The Standard Style at the launch of the new series titled The Return of Timmy naBhonzo: Social Media at Theatre in the Park in Harare on Friday.

He said his story has at times been sensationalised to hurt his character: “There are some things that amuse me when I hear what is being published and I wonder who they have talked to when I do not even remember talking to anybody.”

As if that is not enough, he said he sometimes stumbled into people selling his past work and felt cheated because they are ripping him off.

“The first one [Timmy naBhonzo drama] we did is on the streets and then you ask how did they get it because it was locked up at the ZBC archives, but who is bringing it out to the streets? They will not tell you because they want money,” he said.

“That 50c they charge for the discs, can it pay the production crew? At least if they want money they should charge meaningful prices.”

Contrary to the widely-held belief that the famous actor will go down history as one of the artists who ended up a pauper, Bhonzo is on a mission to twist his fate after recently featuring in the new TV series.

Although the inaudibility of his voice is a glitch, he said this project would mark his return to prominence while heaping praises on his partner in comedy Timothy Tapfumaneyi, better known as Timmy, for resuscitating his career.

“To tell the truth, when I look at Timmy, he is a person that I groomed and he is doing this thing wholeheartedly and yes, he has done a good thing,” he said.

On whether this is the beginning of a crusade of more productions he will feature in, Bhonzo said he had left the baton to younger actors, but would continue to apply expertise occasionally.

“The script is not yet out, but it’s something in me. We leave it for the youngsters to do and when I find them struggling, that is when we chip in. But the truth is youngsters are trying,” he said.

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