Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Correspondent
SOUTH Africa-based, Zimbabwean visual artiste painter, Rasta the artiste, is in Bulawayo to honour the late arts legend Cont Mhlanga.
The Pumula East born Rasta, real name Lebani Sirenje, arrived in Bulawayo on Tuesday and yesterday was up and about in the city centre, meeting fellow artistes.
Popularly known for painting portraits of late artistes and prominent people, Rasta told Chronicle Showbiz yesterday that he is going to be painting a portrait of the fallen legend.
“I am here in koBulawayo to pay tribute to ubaba uCont Mhlanga who has left us.
We as artists and Zimbabwe at large have been robbed of a great man who had a great impact in our work.
As I always paint in honour of fallen legends, I saw it fit to come all the way from South Africa to pay my last respects to the father of the arts, umkhulu wethu sonke.”
“Whenever I come to Zimbabwe I usually go to theatres, especially Amakhosi Theatre. I was introduced by the Sunduza Boys.
So, whenever I came back then, I would go there and that gave me the privilege to meet ubaba several times.
He was big in mentoring young artists.
I used to do visual art and he was in theatre but the fact that we are in the same industry gave me the honour to gain a few things from him.
I am very honoured to have met him in a lifetime,” Rasta said.
He said he is going to attend Mhlanga’s burial in Lupane.
“I am going to attend the memorial service at the Amphitheatre tomorrow.
And I am also going to attend his burial in Lupane on Saturday.
From there hopefully I am going to start sketching a picture of the arts legend,” he said.
Rasta has over the years earned himself a reputation for honouring late artists by painting pictures of them.
As he took a tour around the City Hall, many people shared positive sentiments about his work.
Dellen Moyo said painting a portrait of Mhlanga will be appreciated by many as he was a people’s person.
“Mhlanga was a people’s person so I think having his painting will be appreciated by not only his family but the nation at large.
We appreciate the work that Rasta does in honouring fallen legends.
This helps in making sure that they are not forgotten. Keep it up,” Moyo said.
Cosmos Moyo, a resident, said he is excited to meet Rasta in person as he always saw him on television.
“I am very happy to finally shake his hand.
I always see him on South African television channels and I didn’t think that he was Zimbabwean.
We appreciate that he came to pay tribute to Mhlanga. And having his painting will keep his spirit alive in the industry,” Moyo said. – @SeehYvonne