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Cont Mhlanga – Today Zimbabwe is mourning, following the death of legendary playwright and filmmaker.

1/8/2022           Conte Mhlanga Dies

Kamangeni Phiri

Zimbabwe’s arts sector has been plunged into mourning following the death of legendary playwright and filmmaker, Continueloving Mdladla Mhlanga.

Cont, as Mhlanga was popularly called in the arts circles, died this morning at a hospital in Bulawayo where he had been admitted over an undisclosed ailment.

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe has announced the legendary playwright’s death.

“The legend has passed on. It is with a heavy heart and intense sadness that the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Board and Management announces to the nation and the Cultural and Creative Sectors in Zimbabwe and internationally the sad passing on of the legendary Conte Mdladla Mhlanga. Conte Mhlanga was admitted in hospital 10 days ago, while his situation seemed to stabilize, it took a different turn in the last three days. Conte passed on this morning,“ said NAC Executive Director, Nicholas Moyo in a statement.

ARTISTES from different art forms took turns to pour their grief on social media immediately after learning of the passing on of Mhlanga.

“I am so devastated and I do not know on whose shoulder I will lean on when crying, now that my brother is gone. Molalla, Khebesi, Continueloving, I will miss you dearly,” said respected poet-cum musician, Albert Nyathi, “National Hero Status for Cont Mdladla Mhlanga,” he added.

Daves Guzha, another Zimbabwean theatre guru described the late Cont Mhlanga as a unique, talented artist who would be difficult to replace.

“Cont Mhlanga! How does one even begin to process such a colossal loss! How do you exit the stage at this most crucial of times! They don’t make man like you anymore! You were made of sterner stuff.

Fearless! Humble! Noble in your method of challenging dissent.

A provocateur!

Family, friend, advisor with an incisive mind. You spoke and practiced truth to power. A playwright of our time, director, producer, cultural entrepreneur.

You will be sadly missed in our household and the many enriching discussions. May the children, family and Gogo be comforted in this most trying of times!

To sleep you may have gone! But your deeds and works are interred for posterity,” wrote Guzha on his facebook wall.

Renowned journalist/broadcaster Tapfuma Machakaire said Cont has departed when he was in the midst of finalizing logistics for the launch of a Bulawayo based recently licensed television station. “I had a meeting with Cont and he shared exciting ideas about the new station. He told me about the exciting documentaries that he wished me to help coordinate on the history of the city of kings. His death is a blow that will have a huge dent on the Bulawayo community and the Matabeleland region as a whole,” said Machakaire. 

Cont Mdladla Mhlanga was a playwright, filmmaker and creative director. His career in the cultural and creative industries began in 1982 when he formed Amakhosi which started as a youth karate club but later switched to a professional theatre in 1988.  “The Nation will be informed of further details of the unfolding situation in due course,” Moyo said.

 ……. More to follow

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