Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Correspondent
Vibrant and ever bubbly Breeze FM radio personality, Cassandra Chawira’s death has left wounds in the hearts of many people and questions that have no answers.
“Miss Cass,” as she was affectionately known, died on Monday morning following an illness that had seen her hospitalised at Victoria Falls General Hospital the day before.
She was 36.
Friends and family hailed her as a rare jewel who worked tirelessly to promote musicians and give them as much exposure as possible. Some referred to her as an artist’s advocate.
Miss Cass’s funeral service was held yesterday in Victoria Falls. She will be buried in Bulawayo today, according to her family.
Her uncle, Kurauone Fidelis Chawira said Miss Cass is survived by a son.
“Cass was born in Redcliff, Kwekwe, on January 26, 1986. She was the first born in a family of four. At the age of two years, she was taken to her grandmother in Bulawayo. She stayed with her from then until she completed secondary school at Townsend Girls High school. By that time, you could tell that this child was gifted in public speaking due to the fact that she was always vibrant and easily sociable. This is explaining why she became an excellent radio presenter and part time MC at the time of her passing.
“She later moved to stay in Gweru after completing high school. It was in Gweru where she met the father of her only son Christian. She worked at several places, moving between towns which include Harare and Gweru. In 2012 she moved to Victoria Falls where she started off as a hairdresser and cosmetician working from home then slowly worked her way up to being the manager at Elephant Hills salon,” he said.
Chawira said it was during this time that she joined Breeze FM, the radio station that made her famous.
“She then landed a spot at Breeze FM where she did shows on and off radio at the same time doing side gigs as an MC at various events. She was starting to be an advocate in pushing for local MCs to host all the local gigs instead of importing MCs from other towns. She was an advocate for artists. So, in brief that’s what I can say about my niece. She was such a loving person,” he said.
A Breeze FM staffer, Leslie Phiri took to social media to express sorrow at the loss of Miss Cass.
“Dear Ms Cass, the life of the shortest in the building has been cut short. Just like that, you are gone! The pain is intense, my heart is in tatters, I am numb. Despite the excruciating pain of losing you, I write this to you, one last time, to tell you that you were my favourite radio host and that is why today I choose to celebrate you and let the world know that one of the finest radio personalities in Zimbabwe is no more.
“Cassandra, the success story of Breeze FM in Victoria Falls is incomplete without you. You were there from the beginning, and you played a pivotal role building brand Breeze FM. Your teachable spirit made you such rare talent which made it easy to hone your skills. Your voice soon reverberated through the Victoria Falls community and the entire Hwange district. Yours was not just a voice, it was authority. Many came and went but you stood the test of time.
“While most people think that it’s all about the voice behind the mic, your production work ethic was prodigious. You would always put in the extra work and where you erred you were always quick to seek recourse. You were a team player, always fun to be around and cracking jokes that kept the mood in the office carnival. In a world where female broadcasters are beginning to take up the space, you were not afraid to take on the big stage. Your energy was remarkable, you knew how to connect with your audience, you mastered the art of understanding issues that seek to knit communities and preserve our social fabric. Yours was a life of distinction.
“What I loved most about you Cassandra was that you were never afraid of speaking truth to power. Having worked with you for over 5 years as your Executive Producer, you were always candid and not afraid to speak up respectfully. You never held grudges with anyone. All you wanted was for the team to work in unison. Where you had issues, you would come to me, vent if you needed to, and cry when you were overwhelmed with emotions but you always dusted yourself and got the job done!
“My heart weeps for my nephew, Christian, you struck me as one of the most loving mothers dedicated to raising your son in an atmosphere of discipline. You worked hard, your hustle for your son was inflexible. I am very proud that you did your best in raising Christian and am certain that the life lessons you gave to him will stick and he will grow up to emulate your high work ethic,” he wrote.
Musician Muffia King (born Ray Karipache) said he was short of words due to the death of his friend and colleague.
“I am glad to have known and worked with Cassandra since 2016. She is one person who grew to love and support local talent by all means. She was always there and readily available for work anytime and she was someone who had a cash talk. Whether happy or not she would say it out right there and continue in her happy mood as she was always happy. She was one person who would push and motivate all local artists in playing their songs on air and encouraging them.
“As for me, she would tell me straight up if maybe I’ve gone off track. By us working together we eventually became a family and she was my sister just like that I would call her Tete always. She was strong and kind. My Tete, my friend, always inspirational, someone who always guided me and always there. She became family to me. I am short of words and I hope everyone will join me in celebrating our beloved Cassandra Chawira, her heart, soul, talent, courage and grace. May her soul rest in peace,” he said.
Breeze FM listeners also took to social media platforms to mourn the much-celebrated enthusiastic radio host.