He was a talented actor and probably the best to emerge in the post Safirio “Mukadota” Madzikatire era.
His antics were hilarious, the way he walked left many in stitches, even the way he talked was rather fascinating. Simply put, he was a special gem extracted from Mabvuku by television producer Agnes Gwatiringa.
He was known for coining his street language to suit any situation, and he would sometimes move away from the script to inject some humour in his act.
Who can afford to forget these lines?
“Ndamboti ndakaenda ku University here ini? Inongori scop medula blangata yangu inongori sharp . . . I know they hate me I know they think I am more clever to them.
“Amai Sorobhi izvi zvine mashura, ndati zvine mashura katsi kuitira tsvina pamusuwo nevakafundawo vane makuhwa . . . Makutoita clinic ino kaempire kenyu kehukamalism . . . Kutosvikawo panevamwe varume hanzi ndiri gentleman neiwo mazitye ezvikomba. Tikukwaziseizve vachitiviri ndimimunodayi kuchena nemazitye.”
These and other catch phrases had become household clichés that Paraffin’s fans would often exchange, to illustrate the actor’s popularity.
Paraffin’s antics used to make Monday evenings special because of the drama series that was aired on ZBC.
Most households would look forward to the screening of the drama. So powerful was Paraffin that many of his fans would drool with excitement once he was on television.
This week, Saturday Lifestyle visited Mabvuku, the place where the legendary actor called home.
If Paraffin’s fans are waiting for another talented actor to emerge from the Mushangwe family, then there are bound to be disappointed as there is no heir apparent to take the acting crown left by the actor.
Like the dinosaur, Paraffin’s legacy is in danger of extinction.
He left five children and the last born, Tarisai (now 24), is the only one still living at their Mabvuku house and her siblings are scattered around the globe.
Paraffin’s wife, Ebbah, died in 2000.
While her brothers Tawanda and Tendai are living in South Africa, her sisters Rutendo and Sharon are in the United Kingdom.
“No one from our family has ever bothered to follow our daddy’s footsteps. All the children are pursuing different professions,” said Tarisai.
It is not only the legacy that the family is failing to keep, even the four-roomed house Paraffin left has not been renovated or extended. Tarisai is using two rooms while letting out the other two.
“I now live alone, all the other siblings are out of the country. My sisters send me money for my upkeep,” she said.
While Paraffin was known in the drama series as a trouble monger, gossiper of note and a sharp-tongued person not afraid to say anything, his daughter says he was a different person in real life.
“I was only eight when he died but I remember him as a quite person who was serious. He would throw jokes here and there but generally he would try to maintain order in the house,” she said.
Contrary to the role he played where he expressed himself as an illiterate individual merely driven by desire to feed his stomach as well as an inconsiderate individual who did not mind the consequences of his action to others, the legendary actor was in real life a responsible husband driven by the love to fend for his family.
During his lifetime, Mushangwe worked for Cresta Lodge as an accounts clerk and also for Greatermans department store as a salesman.
“People remember my late father as an entertainer but to me he was the breadwinner. He looked after us well. He would go out of his way to bring food on the table,” she said.
Like the plight faced by surviving families of departed actors, Paraffin’s family has not been getting any royalties from his dramas.
“We are not getting anything from ZBC. I don’t have any DVDs of my father on the small screen, ZBC cannot give them to us,” she said.