By Shadrick Williams

I must admit from the onset that l worked with Lazarus Boora for a very short time and there are artists and journalists who knew the man far better than l did but that does not stop me from writing this obituary.

It was in September 2002 that l joined the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)’s Productions Department.

Soon after l joined ZBC, there were auditions for the drama series, “Gringo Mari Iripi” and l became the Production Assistant to the late veteran producer, Arnold Shoko.

By the way, I also doubled as the boom operator. As some venturing into journalism fulltime for the first time and more so, into broadcasting, I was excited to work with executive producer Noel Sibanda as well as camerapersons William Gumbo, Taona Jonhera and Charles Nyembe from the technical side.

Our make-up artist was Fluorence Gambe.

However, what made the experience unforgettable was rubbing shoulders with the likes of the late Stembeni Makawa (Mai Gweshegweshe), William Matenga (Gweshegweshe), Blessing Chimhau (Mbudziyadhura), Mudhara Tapera, Eddie Kutsiwa, the late Lillian Chidavaenzi, Enock Chihombori (Toby Waters) and of course, Lazarus Boora playing the character, Gringo.

By that time he had already made his name in the business of acting.

He would affectionately, call me Mr Williams. Hilarious as he always was, we had a wonderful time recording the 13-episode series at a site down in Borrowdale.

Years after l left the national broadcaster, we would meet at football matches but the last time l bumped into him was in Marondera two years ago.

As l was about to get into a pharmacy l heard, “Mr Williams!” He was shouting on top of his voice while parking behind me thereby drawing the attention of a sizeable crowd. I asked him if he hadn’t forgotten me to which he scoffed, swearing he would never forget.

We exchanged pleasantries and he told me he was going to his rural home in Nyazura. Such a free spirit that Gringo was, a man who called a spade a spade.

Then he was driving a fairly knew Audi vehicle and he looked well…then l read all the stories about his sickness.

Death is cruel! I am saddened by your death. May the Lord comfort your family and friends. Rest in peace Gringo.