Zimbabwe arts icon, playwright and former top government official Stephen Chifunyise has died. He was 70.
Stephen Chifunyise was born on September 21, 1948 in Nhema, Shurugwi, in the Midlands province of the then Southern Rhodesia. He attended St Linus Matoranjera School in Chitomborwizi, Chinhoyi, for his Sub A up to Standard I.
He then moved to Shamweti Primary School, Mumbwa, Zambia in 1960 for his Standard II, transferring to Chisengalumbwe from 1961 to 1964 to pursue Standard III up to VI.
He went abroad to the USA where he successfully completed his MA in Theatre Arts in 1977 returning to Zambia the same year to take up a post as drama lecturer at UNZA until 1979.
In 1979, the Zambian government appointed him Director of Zambia Cultural Services.
However, when Zimbabwe attained independence, Stephen Chifunyise returned back home and worked as Programme Producer at the Audio Visual Services in the Ministry of Education and Culture, leaving in 1983 to join the University of Zimbabwe as drama lecturer.
Stephen Chifunyise held various positions in the field of theatre. He was director of Chikwakwa Theatre of UNZA (1977-1979), Secretary General of International Theatre Institute, Zambia Centre (1977-1982), Secretary of National Music Industry Advisory Committee to the government of Zambia (1980-1982) and Vice-President of the Union of African Performing Artists from 1983. It was during this time that Stephen Chifunyise developed his ideas on theatre which this article seeks to explore.