The late popular actress Anne “Vimbai” Nhira will be laid to rest this morning at Zororo Memorial Park in Harare where her mother was also buried two years ago.
Vimbai, also known as the African Queen Diva, suffered injuries on her chest, rib cage and back and died three days later after an attack by unknown assailants in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, on March 11.
She was 38.
Her body left South Africa by road on Friday afternoon after a memorial service was held in Randburg, Johannesburg.
The late actress’s brother Patrick Chibagidi Nhira confirmed to Standard Style yesterday that the actress would be interred at Zororo Memorial Park along Chitungwiza Road.
“We are expecting the body later today [yesterday]. It will go briefly to the parlour and then lie in state at home,” Chibagidi Nhira said.
“Tomorrow we will have a short church service to be officiated by the Apostolic Faith Mission church because Anne belonged to that church. After the church service, we will give the chance to the dignitaries. ”
Family spokesperson Florence Ziyambi said the body was supposed to have arrived yesterday afternoon, but was delayed due to logistic challenges at the Beitbridge Border Post.
“I called them [funeral service company] and they said they had been delayed at the border. They are now arriving later in the day. I can confirm that the burial is around 11am tomorrow [today], but the time is subject to the confirmation on who [esteemed guests] are to come,” said Ziyambi, who is the legal advisor to the President and Cabinet said.
The minister of State for Harare Metropolitan province Oliver Chidawu and Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation deputy minister Tino Machakaire, representatives from the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and several government officials are expected to attend the burial.
Chibagidi Nhira said had it not been for delays at the border, the body would have reached Harare around 1pm.
“They had to go through vigorous Covid-19 checks at the border particularly on the South African side. They also used Bulawayo Road from Beitbridge to minimise detours along the Beitbridge-Harare Road, which is under construction,” he said.
“She will be buried at Zororo Memorial Park in the same Section A where our mother was interred two years ago.”
Chibagidi Nhira acknowledged the support that came from fellow artistes, some who featured with Anne in the famed soapie Studio 263.
“We have people like Stephen Chigorimbo and Tatenda Mavetera [Seke-Chikomba MP] in her capacity as an actress. Tongayi Chirisa and many other artistes who sent their condolences,” he said.
“Anne and I were quite close, so close that when she won the Miss Chitungwiza title, she gave the prize to me. I still have it, the Econet line. She wanted to make sure artistes come up and encourage the girl child to stand for themselves.
“It’s our dream that after the burial we will make sure her dream is realised through seeking assistance from players in the arts industry. It can be through a trust or foundation. We will make sure we will have a vehicle that will ensure her dream comes true. What we are saying is that we will keep her legacy alive. ”
Mavetera, who featured in the soapie Studio 263 as Tendai, told Standard Style that she was devastated by Vimbai’s death, describing the late actress as someone who had the arts industry at heart.
“I am very devastated. I started working with Anne in 2002 when Studio 263 started. She was a very pleasant person to work with. She was very focused, whenever you would be on set or a scene with her she would put all her effort and concentrate to make it really come out well. This is one attribute that most actors need to have,” Mavetera said.
“Nhira had the arts industry at heart; she wanted to see it growing such that after Studio 263 she started other programmes. When she featured in Zabalaza [South African soapie], I was very happy for her. Taking acting as a career was something that she didn’t put on the wayside.”
Veteran actor Chigorimbo, who acted as John Huni on Studio 263, said Zimbabwe had lost an iconic leader who was an inspiration to the younger generation.
“Zimbabwe has lost a hardworking icon and leader. Anne, the female lead in Studio 263, was an inspiration to thousands of young people. She was a joy to work with because she knew her stuff and was always prepared. She was the director’s delight because of her willingness to learn. She had so many viable projects and ideas,” Chigorimbo said.
Anne made her breakthrough in the soapie Studio 263 and at one point, she was crowned Miss Chitungwiza.
She had been in South Africa since 2008 and tried her hand at singing in 2013 when she released a single titled The One.