Vharazipi’s tough road to stardom
Tawanda Marwizi Recently in Mashava
Sabhuku Vharazipi, real name David Mubaiwa’s life story reads like a script from one of his dramas.
From being a mere a rural boy, Mubayiwa now stands alongside some of the big names in the arts sector, thanks to determination, hard work and perseverance.
He managed to navigate his way around a challenging upbringing, living on the edge of destitution, but he never lost hope. When the popular comedian’s parents discovered his passion in acting, he was chucked out of their home in Masvingo.
That was 1991 and the comedian was only 16 years old. Then art was generally associated with poor people and many parents did not want their children to choose the genre as their career path.
Instead of roaming the streets, Mubayiwa resolved to spend most of his time with his long term friend Wellington Chindara, who plays the role Chairman in the popular comedy, Sabhuku Vharazipi.
Mubayiwa and Chindara had met at Christian Secondary school and became best friends. However, the two’s association received the wrath of Chindara’s parents, who did not want Vharazipi hanging out with their son.
“When I sought refuge at Chindara’s place it did not go well with his parents who then chased us. Instead of being apologetic to our parents we made a bold decision that we will be taking theatre to another level, so we left” revealed Mubayiwa.
They managed to get a room in Masvingo, but with no utensils nor bedding to use, the two had to use sacks, while looking for alternatives. “We had only one pot and a plate which we were given by the landlord. By then we were now going into schools performing and that was the beginning of our journey,” he added.
In 1992 they formed Ziya Theatre production that was later renamed Ziya Cultural Trust. They started holding shows in several public places and in schools. Their first recorded act, “Voice”, was sold out in Masvingo. It was not easy again performing in schools and communities and at one point his friend Chindara was injured in Mwenezi during a show.
“We had a live performance in Mwenezi and during the play Chindara was chased away from the stage and a reveller took that serious and hurled a missile at him,” he said.
After several attempts to start income generating projects, the two were eventually allocated land under the reform programme and they settled in Zvamahande community.
“It did not pay much as we were struggling to make ends meet but with the support we got from Ziya Cultural Arts Trust, we managed to thrive,” he said.
Their breakthrough came following the production of Sabhuku Vharazipi. “We were very confident that the production would do better but I was worried about my wife. “I was not sure if she would agree to the idea of this bald head that became my trademark. Chindara and I were happy when she agreed,” he said.
Away from theatrical productions, Vharazipi is now an established farmer who boasts of several livestock that includes 20 pigs and 15 cattle. This year he had a good harvest of more than 10 tonnes of maize, beans, and rapoko.
“I am a farmer and this has become my other source of income. I am able to send my children to school,” he said. Mubayiwa also managed to buy a vehicle, an Isuzu Wizard. When The Herald Entertainment arrived at his homestead he had gone to fetch water with his wife Servy Matimbire.
The couple is blessed with four children, Patrick who is studying at Midlands State University, Tapuwanashe, Tatenda and Ruvarashe. “After Vharazipi production we are no longer living the same life because people are always happy to see us. My family has been very supportive,” he added.
Though his road to stardom was not rosy, the comedian has become the darling of many companies as well as the pride of his community.
Meanwhile Ziya Cultural Arts Trust has lined up four comedies that will be released this year.