The Zimbabwean arts industry has been hit with a heavy blow following the passing on of cultural ambassador Stephen Chifunyise. He has died at the age of 70.
Chifunyise was instrumental in the preservation of African culture and heritage. He was an arts and culture consultant, playwright as well as an education consultant. Tributes have been pouring in for the late guru. Nick Mangwana wrote,” Sad to learn that the country has lost renown choreographer and arts consultant..”. Likewise Igantius Mabasa tweeted,” Sekuru Stephen Chifunyise,sango ratsva, nhaka yafa, sango ratsva, nemichero matendere nemazai. Arts and culture grandad”.
Chifunyise was actively involved in the development of SADC arts and culture festivals from 1994 to 2000. He also chaired the Southern African Film festival from 1990 to 1996. In addition to that, he facilitated the review and classification of the culture sector in Botswana from 2004 to 2008. Chifunyise was a mentor to some of the famous names in Zimbabwe including Danai Gurira and Chiwonise Maraire. Many young and talented artits passed through his hands.
Chifunyise was also co founder of Chipawo. This is platform whereby young talent is identified and nurtured. His absence will surely be felt in the arts industry.