President Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted the late Cont Mdlala Mhlanga a State-assisted funeral in recognition of his unwavering contribution to the country’s creative sector.
Mhlanga who passed away at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) on Monday, has been hailed as a luminary who carved the way for many artists.
In a statement, Tuesday, Mnangagwa paid tribute to the revered arts administrator who was also the founder of Amakhosi Arts Theater Centre.
He said this comes at a time Mhlanga, had been appointed as a member of the National Team
for the Creation of a Strategy for the Zimbabwe Film Sector.
“On behalf of the Office of the President and Cabinet, and indeed on my behalf, I wish foremost, to express my deepest condolences to the Mhlanga family who have lost a beloved father and breadwinner, and to the cultural and creative arts community in general, who are the poorer with the demise of one of Zimbabwe’s most respected icons the arts sector has ever produced.”
Meanwhile, condolences messages continue pouring to the Mhlanga family, with the latest coming from the office of the Mzilikazi Royal Kingdom representing the Ndebele King, Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo.
“We pass our condolences on the passing of Cont Mhlanga, a cultural enthusiast, who has left us while we were still looking forward to more of his great works,” said Baba Khumalo.
A local pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu, also expressed sadness over Mhlanga’s passing, revealing that he offered enabling support to their cause.
“The late was a very famous man, a celebrated artistic director and author among his many achievements. While the name Amakhosi Arts and Cultural Centre is synonymous with the name and personality of the late Cont Mhlanga, few might know that from its inception Ibhetshu LikaZulu benefited from the advice guidance and support of Cont,” said Mbuso Fuzwayo, Secretary General of Ibhetshu LikaZulu.
Fuzwayo said one of the tasks and mandate of Ibhetshu LikaZulu, as assigned by its communities and stakeholders was memorialization, which Mhlanga contributed to.
“UBaba uCont Mhlanga was the first person to donate supporting our memorialization efforts. He was a practical person who did not just give advice but enabling material support to realise the set objectives. He loved his people and country and was always available to listen and advise us. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
Speaking to this publication, brother to Mhlanga, Styx stated that he will be buried at his rural home in Lupane at a date yet to be announced.
A memorial service will be held at Amakhosi Arts Centre before the body leaves for Lupane
The multi award winning Mhlanga is survived by his wife and six children.