Mbudziyadhura quits acting Blessing “Mbudziyadhura” Chimhowa

Arts Reporter

Having been in the acting industry for more than 30 years and made a mark, Blessing Chimhowa, popularly known as “Mbudziyadhura” from the popular yesteryear drama series ‘Gringo’, is quitting acting.

Chimhowa first made the revelation on Tuesday afternoon via a social media post which caught the attention of his fans, with some saying it was too early for him to retire, while others thought that it was hard times forcing him to quit.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, the Gweru based actor said there were several reasons, but the biggest of them all was trying to find happiness.

“The main reason for quitting acting was to find happiness,” he said. “I no longer feel happy playing or acting anymore. In Zimbabwe, acting and the arts in general are more like a part time rather than a full time job.

“Yes, I am a brand now and during those days, I was happy doing it and also when corporate sponsorship used to sustain the television drama series back in the days, but now things are different.” Chimhowa said actors had reasons to stay motivated.

“As such I can conclude that lack of proper endorsements and financial security has resulted in my retirement from acting,” he said. “Out of love for acting, I had entertained people for free, sometimes I would take up gigs on pro-bono.

“When that is done, I go home having made people happy but feeling empty inside. I have been acting for more than 30 years, but professionally on stage and on screen, we can date it closer to 1998.

“I have been a mischievous boy growing up and I remember back in primary school in Grade 5, that is where all the acting began.

“Thanks to Mrs Sidhuma, a drama teacher who believed that she could turn this energy into much more useful energy. At a professional level, I was discovered by Screen Talent, a now defunct talent search organisation that specialised on sourcing acting gigs, coaching, and also acted as an agent to advertising companies that needed actors for screen, photo shoots, and voice acting jobs.”

Chimhowa said some of the notable characters that came out of Screen Talent included the late Gringo, John Banda and Sister Flame.

He said his last stint was some months ago, although Tuesday this week was his official exit.

“My last acting stint was when I came out to help establish a younger Gringo character in the YouTube web series, “Gringo Paruzevha”, under Pwaaka Skits,” said Chimhowa.

“Lessons I can take away from acting is in order to survive in this business, you need to have “continuity”. Characters will live on and it was everyone’s wish to help bring Gringo back and everyone is glad that they succeeded.”

So what is next for him?

Chimhowa said he believes in farming and nature.

“It is my wish to settle on a plot somewhere and do horticulture production,” he said. “But in relation to acting, after settling down I wish to do behind the scenes work like coaching, producing and directing plays on stage and for the screen.” The actor said for the time being, he had been surviving from hand to mouth.

“I prefer to say that I have been doing what most people have been doing — kungwavha ngwavha — to make ends meet,” he said. “I must stress that it has not been easy for me, especially as a family man with a “Famous Tag” on his back to just be doing any odd jobs, but in the end a man must do what a man has to do.

“The tag itself sometimes comes with some benefit, like free kombi rides (transport) or an occasional free meal in a restaurant. I am grateful for this. I have been staying in Gweru since 2019, although I wish to come back to Harare for better economic opportunities should everything else fall in place.”

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