BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
Renowned and award-winning filmmaker Joe Njagu says he was inspired by the late actress, model and film producer Anne “Vimbai” Nhira to join the creative industry and her demise came at a time they were working on a production.
Njagu told Standard Style that what inspired him the most was seeing his former classmate and “close friend” making headlines in entertainment circles starting with being crowned Miss Chitungwiza in 1998.
“We were together at Zengeza Four High School from Form 1 to 4. From Miss Chitungwiza, she took it up to Miss Harare, then the next thing she was on Studio 263. Seeing someone who was in my class making headlines inspired me to get into the arts world. She was a close inspiration who made me say ‘I can do it’,” he said.
“We were close friends and had the privilege of working together. We even spoke three days ago. I remember when she once came for a holiday, she asked my whereabouts and I told her that I was busy with work. She said she could just hang around. When she came through she said the film (Cook Off) was dope and wanted to feature. That’s how she became one of the judges.”
The filmmaker said Nhira had played her part and broke her way into the creative industry in face of criticism.
“Life is too short, she played her part. I will choose to celebrate what she did for the industry in particular to young dreamers. She was a superstar on Studio 263. We used to call her ‘Vimbai wedu (our Vimbai)’. Back then, we would say, do you know that I went to school with this person? We were so proud of what she was doing and now she’s gone. It’s so sad,” he said.
“I remember there was a big row when she became a model. People were saying in modelling people will be naked. She stood her ground. She broke her way into the entertainment industry having started out as a model. Then the rest is history.”
Njagu could not disclose the title of the movie that they were doing together with Nhira and he was still to come to terms with her passing-on.
“We were working on something else. Sadly it’s never going to come out because she’s gone. It’s really sad. I still can’t believe it. I haven’t come to terms with the sad news. I still think she will call and say, ‘Ndeipi, asi vanhu vanopenga? (Hi, are people mad?).’ Going the way she did is sad,” he said.
“She was the producer and actress in the production that we were working on. I can’t divulge the name of the film, but we will probably complete it in her honour.”