. . . Chigorimbo reflflects on life, career
VETERAN actor, script-writer and acclaimed lm director Stephen Chigorimbo is still yearning for more.
Better known as John Huni for his role in the first ever Zimbabwean television soap opera Studio 263, the revered actor hasn’t lost his mojo.
He shared advice and experiences as he turned 70 on Monday.
H-Metro’s Latwell Nyangu (LN) discussed with him (SC) a number of issues.
Read on. . .
LN: What does it mean to you turning older?
SC: Thank you for thinking of me Latwell on my great day, I appreciate the birthday wishes from you and H-Metro.
I am delighted to be 70-years-old, I look forward to the next 70 years as God will give me.
I am thanking Him for every one of those 70 years that He has given me.
I have enjoyed each and every one of them, I have enjoyed the high moments, just as I have enjoyed the difficult moments.
Di cult moments are the ones that taught me to look forward.
I won’t say much about the wonderful side and easy ones. I have been very fortunate that I was born in a family of artistes, both from my father and mother’s side. As I grew up, I did not know this, I was just experiencing what was happening. I did not know it was also in my blood. I would really urge everyone out there to stop looking down on the people who gave birth to you, study them with open eyes, you will be pleasantly surprised that the people who gave birth to you were not stupid and that they actually prepared the way for you.
LN: Share your experience in the arts industry on the journey you have travelled so far.
SC: It was a pleasant surprise when I found out that my ancestors; from my father, grandfather, great-great-grandfather, were people who had a lot to offer their people during their time, and they injected that into my own blood.
Unfortunately, there are things that I inherited that I am not comfortable with, but that’s life.
I am celebrating the good things I have inherited from them, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to know that, many people go through life without realising that they really have to thank their parents.
When the word of God talks about honouring parents, we sometimes put a rider to it; provided my father was there for me, provided my mother havasi muroyi, or whatever, but when you start to honour them, God opens your eyes to the many and wonderful things, and I thank him for opening my eyes to that.
LN: What is the secret to reaching this age?
SC: The number one is knowing who I am, and why I am here on earth. A lot of people do not know why they are alive and who they are. I am glad that I found out early enough, I was seven when I found out I was God’s child and that he loved me and had wonderful plans for my life. I was young and that is the number one secret to reaching my age. It’s not just reaching my age, but I had an abundant life, meaning I had a life that was spiritually, mentally, physically, financially,
emotionally fulfilling; a life where I look back and say yes, I have made many mistakes, but then the only person who doesn’t make mistakes is a dead person since they cannot do anything.
I’d give my life a nine out of 10.
LN: As a veteran, what notes can upcoming artistes take from you?
SC: Young people need to be serious about what they do, take each day as it comes. Do not put all the days together in one basket, many people do that or they think that everything is a rose garden, but you have to quickly know that every rose bush has many thorns which are part and parcel of the roses.
As a film maker, everything I have done, as a sportsman, father to sons, daughters, as a grandfather, a pastor, friend to people, I am always thankful to God that He made me realise that the most important thing is separating the person you are dealing with from the mistakes that they make and also separating good things that they have done because those three things are never the same.
The same person smiles at you today is the same person when you meet in future who will frown at you. Human beings do different things at different times according to the things that are motivating them. I have also learnt that there is a real God and at the same time there is a real devil, you have to know that.
Every day that we live, we make choices; are you doing things that God wants you to do or the devil wants you to do? When you are doing things of the devil, you are definitely on the losing side, but as long you do God’s things, He will save you. I am a man who has made millions and as well denied millions, I am a person who has made money and fame, but at the same time caused hurt to many other people.
But the important thing is to never make it deliberate to hurt people. People can get hurt by things you do, without wanting to hurt them.
LN: In your view, can the current generation be able to cover all these missing gaps?
SC: The arts industry is wide open, the opportunities are impossible to satisfy, be it literature, film-making, dance, music, you name it. The opportunities are plenty and it’s important to start work on other people’s projects, give your best so that they can appreciate you. But once you have learnt your trade, it’s more important you should start exercising your trade the best way you can.
Not all of us, are born to be leaders, some by nature are followers, and there is still an element of leadership required. People believe that things should be done for them by other people, it’s not everything that must be done for you by other people. All other people can do is to initiate.
The issue of funding for the arts needs to be addressed, systems need to be in place, but there is no way any government can put systems in place for people who are not there, but as artistes increase, so do the institutions, and then officials get pressure to put in place supporting systems.
LN: Are you the best there is?
SC: Zimbabwe is filled with people who are very artistic. I must not ever think that I am the only good actor or the best person as a film-maker or whatever I do, but there are other people out there. The country has millions of talented people.
LN: Is the future bright?
SC: The rising generation includes my own children and grandchildren; I am one of those who believe they should be better than me because they have an advantage of everything I have passed on to them. And what they have also learnt from other people, they have interacted with outside my circle.
So as far as the future is concerned, it is bright, but there is only one condition; you have to make a choice of who drives you, you have to make a conscious choice that God drives your life, the devil knows he has no say in your life. I believe the biggest challenge that most people have is they go through life looking for what they want, what parents want or what my peers are pushing me to, without asking the fundamental question why am I alive.
LN: Thank you Stephen Chigorimbo
SC: You are welcome Latwell.