City mourns arts legend Cont Mhlanga

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has joined the rest of the country in mourning the death of veteran arts administrator and playwright, Cont Mhlanga, who died on Monday.

The local authority described the late arts doyen as a “visionary and pioneer who spearheaded many projects in the creative arts industry”.

He founded Amakhosi Arts Centre which produced and nurtured many artists who have gone on to dominate international stages.

He was awarded the civic honours award on the 18th of October 2002 in recognition of his role in the introduction and subsequent development of theatrical art in Bulawayo.

“This was in recognition of the fact that community theatre became world-renowned and was a great tool in the marketing of the culture and inspirations of the people of Bulawayo,” said Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni.

The mayor said Mhlanga was a Bulawayo citizen at heart serving the city and championing the telling of its story through arts, film, and theatre, and spearheading a number of projects with great leadership, passion, and excellence.

“Bulawayo is saddened by the passing on of a pioneer. His vision and commitments will be treasured for many years to come. Our greatest sympathy goes to the Mhlanga family, the creative industry in Bulawayo, and the nation at large as we mourn and celebrate the life of the visionary,” said Mguni.

Mhlanga was also instrumental in the setting up of Fairtalk Communications which operates two commercial radio stations, Skyz Metro in Bulawayo and Breeze FM in Victoria Falls

While he had retired from the arts industry and retreated to his rural home in Lupane, Mhlanga was working on the setting up of Keyona TV at the time of his death.

“His passing leaves a huge abyss in the entertainment industry as very few can step into those big shoes and walk comfortably. Our loss is heaven’s gain. Today as we mourn him, he sits in the yonder world sharing notes with other departed greats looking back at a life well lived,” said Fairtalk Communications board chairperson, Zwelibanzi Ndlovu, in their condolence message.

“The death of Cont Mhlanga is like watching a whole library of Zimbabwe’s Arts and Culture burning down….and yet we still find time and space to celebrate this Giant from Lupane!”

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