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Lights, camera off; Fare thee well Mai Sorobhi, actress par excellence

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By Darlington Gatsi

 

ARTS icons thronged Warren Hills cemetery Thursday to bid farewell to legendary yesteryear actress, Rhoda Mtembe popularly known as Mai Sorobhi.

 

She succumbed to stroke Tuesday, putting an end to an illustrious career spanning more than two decades in front of cameras and lights.

 

The fiery artist rose to fame in the 90s through drama series Paraffin on the small screen, which endeared her in the hearts of many television
viewers on ZTV.

 

The iconic actress also featured in drama series such as Asi Chii Nhai, Mwana Anokosha, Jema Newadya, Chiri Mumusakasaka Chinozvinzwira, Nhunvatunzva and Nhambetambe Neupenyu.

 

Before venturing into acting Mai Sorobhi was a health care promoter for City of Harare.

 

She dumped the brown uniform of City of Harare, trading it for acting after  being discovered by veteran film director, Agnes Gwatiringa.

 

Gwatiringa hailed Mai Sorobhi saying she was in a class of her own, and a legend par excellence.

 

“Even though we knew that Mai Sorobhi was sick for a very long time, we were still shocked by his passing on. She was not just an actress, but a heroine in her own class,” said Gwatiringa.

 

Mai Sorobhi starred in dramas that raised awareness on child abuse and HIV and AIDS, which was a reflection of who she was of the screen – a teacher.

 

Veteran actor, Steven Chigorimbo said Mai Sorobhi has left an indelible footprint in the arts industry, especially being a symbol of women’s excellence.

 

“The passing on of Rhoda is a big loss to the arts industry. She was there almost at the beginning. We were now in a new Zimbabwe and Mai Sorobhi was very good, she was very professional. Today we celebrate her mark,” said Chigorimbo.

 

The late veteran actor is said to have been ill for a long time and had fallen in the basket of forgotten yesteryear stars.

 

Small screen legend, Timothy ‘Timmy’ Tapfumanei of the Timmy and Bhonzo fame, who worked with the late Mai Sorobhi on Paraffin, said arts players should be appreciated while they are still alive.

 

“These are the things that people should learn from, that arts on its own is a big industry. Here in Zimbabwe we take it for granted, but in other countries it is well recognised but things are changing and people are beginning to appreciate us,” Tapfumanei said.