The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Machipisa Hints On Comeback

IN life there are talented people but so unfortunate as to be found on the wrong side of time and fortune. Such people are highly talented but live without enjoying the fruits of their talent. Yet, to the audience that benefits from that talent, the person is a celebrity.

Such is the situation of Catherine Mazodze, a much fancied television personality of her heyday, whose acting skills had many people glued to their black and white television sets.

She was a vital and exciting cog in the engine-room that drove the "Mhuri yavaMukadota" drama series. And yet, today she has very little if anything to show for it. Imagine if she was in Hollyhood?

Now an old woman, Mazodze affectionately known by her fans as "Machipisa", is living off vending.

"I need to survive so I have been vending for the past two years to eke out a living although my husband works the little I get makes a difference. I still want another chance on the small screen," she said with a chuckle.

The veteran actress, who played the role of a home wrecker, small house or hubby snatcher, last featured in a television drama series in 1991 as part of the Mukadota Family.

"Machipisa" said she relishes her stint with the "Mukadota Family" drama and was seriously considering bouncing back.

"I don't rehearse, one should just give me the story line and I know I can pull it through," she said.

The temperamental and outspoken "Machipisa" said she was living in the "wilderness" because film producers thought she was now a spent force. During her stint with "Mukadota Family" many people thought she was a home wrecker in real life and yet that was not the case.

Many would recall vividly the episode in which she featured as a "small house" who not only lured Mukadota to live with her but she eventually had a white wedding while Mai Rwizi played by Susan Chenjerai was in the rural areas.

Back then, being in love with a married man was an unforgivable sin and acting in that led fans to hate her so much.

"Machipisa" was also part of the Sea Cottage Sisters, a band which used to perform with Safirio Madzikatire.

When everyone thought Machipisa was riding high on the wave of success, she unceremoniously left the sitcom in 1991 to join Phillipa Ndemera, another musician who groomed the late Pio Farai Macheka.

Eight months later, her music career ended when Ndemera was arrested. At that time, she was only aged 33 and she went into oblivion.

"I found myself solace in church work and for the next 10 years I was a devout member of Family of God Church," she said.

In 2001, she married her current husband, Robson Nyanzira. However, she keeps reminiscing about the good old days when she worked with Safirio on the popular sitcom.

"Mukadota was talented and I regarded him as a father, a mentor and who inspired us," she said.

She, however, as a member of the Sea Cottage Sisters, life was difficult as she could not cope with their dance moves.

"I couldn't cope with their dances and at one point I abandoned the group but Mukadota could have none of that. He warned me that if ever I run away again, he will not accept me back," she said.

Born in 1958, Machipisa has a sad childhood story to tell. She was abandoned by her mother when she was only six months old.

She had to be raised by her grandmother. She did not enjoy teenage life after she was impregnated by a her boyfriend who denied paternity.

"It was in 1970s when I got pregnant; the father of the child said he did not want to settle down. He introduced me to different bands where I would dance to eke a living and it was at one of the shows that Mukadota spotted me," she said.

According to Machipisa, she wants some of the old videos of the drama series so that she can show them to her grandchildren.

"I have been trying to get videos from ZBC without success, I would one day love to show them to my grandchildren, so that at least they know what I used to do during my heyday," she say.

"Machipisa" now spends most of her time at her vegetable stall in Cranborne.

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