HUNDREDS of people yesterday gathered at the Harare International Airport to receive the body of popular Zimbabwean actor Nevernay “Muwengwa” Chinyanga, who died in South Africa last Friday.
A sombre atmosphere gripped the terminal as the body arrived and was taken to a funeral parlour in the capital.
Fellow Studio 263 actors present included Steven Chigorimbo, Tinopona Katsande, Chipo Bizure and Pretty Xaba, among others.
National Arts Council director Elvas Mare thanked all those who made it possible for Muwengwa’s body to be repatriated from South Africa.
“We are happy that the body of our artiste has arrived and I am grateful to everyone who helped with the repatriation exercise. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose the amount we helped with as a council.
“It’s per our tradition that funeral donations cannot be disclosed,” he said.
At least R20 000 was needed to bring the body home.
At a service at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare, where Government officials and arts sector representatives joined the grieving family and friends, Mare said the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority had also contributed to the repatriation.
ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said they donated about US$2 000.
Said Kaseke: “We have worked with Chinyanga on only two occasions but we saw the need to assist his family in their time of need.”
Gospel singer Pastor Charles Charamba conducted the service.
Speaker after speaker hailed the late artiste as a talented person who was dedicated to the development of the arts in Zimbabwe.
Family spokesperson Chigorimbo said: “Let’s celebrate his achievements.
“I am asking and requesting you to start celebrating the life and times of our dear friend. Yes, our hearts might be bleeding, but let’s celebrate him,” he said.
Prominent writer and Studio 263 creator Aaron Chiundura-Moyo described Muwe-ngwa as “a hero of the acting fraternity”.
“He was gifted to the extent of creating his own lines in the script that we would write for him,” he said.
The artiste will be buried in Uzumba today.