. . . MOURNERS TURNED AWAY AT CEMETERY
The Covid-19 pandemic this week hit where it hurts the most as it plucked out one of Zimbabwe’s most dedicated arts lover in philanthropist and promoter Rodger Muzawazi who owned the Ekurhuleni Boksburg Hotel located in eastern Johannesburg.
The 52-year old, who was a diabetic, lost the battle to the virus that has sent shock-waves last felt more than a century ago globally.
His funeral was held yesterday with strict observance to Covid-19 protocols and some mourners were turned away at the Boksburg Cemetery where metro police officers only allowed 50 mourners to follow the burial proceedings.
There was no night vigil and the hearse left the parlour for a brief church service followed by a drive past the hotel.
The body was then taken home for less than five minutes and the casket was not even taken out of the car before pro-ceeding to the cemetery.
Muzawazi was an electrical engineer by profession and is survived by his wife, three sons and one daughter. His wife could not attend the burial as she was also hospitalized at the weekend.
For seven years the Ekurhuleni Hotel had become the mecca of Zimbabwean arts thanks to the unrelenting spirit of Muzawazi. Muzawazi never gave up even in the face of financial losses.
The towering giant was an epitome of generosity and would host artistes at his hotel for free and helped many oth-ers who testified on various social media pages.
He catered for the established as well as novices in the game. Big names that played at the venue include legends such as the late Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, Alick Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah, Andy Muridzo, Tryson Chimbetu, Selmor Mtukudzi, Peter Moyo among others.
Emerging bands such as Extra Cat Family, Alex Dekete, Tone Brothers, Mau-r uka Express, Clever Maphosa among many others also played at the venue.
Raunchy dancer Beverly Sibanda and her Sexxxy Angels at some point were resident at the hotel for months and she was at a loss for words following “Mudhara Rodger’s” demise.
A memorial service was held at the hotel on Sunday where speaker-after-speaker eulogized on the goodness of the late Muzawazi. He even got special mention from the ruling ANC branch in the area who had free access to the hotel for their meetings.
Orchestra Mberikwa zvo boss Macheso was represented by their SA-based manager Victor Sithole.
Another friend and promoter, Oliver Mambambamba, was visibly shaken, so were others such as Felistas Chizororo, Noel Tigere and Oliver Noruware who worked closely with the late Muzawazi.
At 10:25am yesterday, the Bell front-loader revved up its engine at Boksburg Cemetery as it filled the grave with mounds of sand.
It marked the end of a hero who deserved a much more dignified send-off than the handful of mourners that turned up.
The Zimbabwean arts industry in South Africa will never be the same and it will take time before the industry gets another dedicated cadre. Go Well Sambiri!
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