Home » Arts & Culture » Paraffin’s Legacy Lives On

When Paraffin and his wife Mai Sorobhi visit a dentist for treatment of the latter’s toothache, there is real drama. Mai Sorobhi is in pain and clinic staff appear too slow for Paraffin who empathises with his wife.

The situation gets worse when a worker at the clinic gives Amai Sorobhi condoms and she accepts them. Paraffin makes a scene at the clinic, scolding the attendants and vehemently protesting against their actions. The way he does it triggers both sympathy and excitement. That is an episode from yesteryear television series “Paraffin” featuring Paraffin whose real name was Philip Gadzikwa Mushangwe and Rhoda Mtembi as Amai Sorobhi.

This year on June 29 Zimbabwe marks exactly 18 years since the passing on of Paraffin who died in 1997. Though it might be long time, the actor ‘s works are still relevant and people are still enjoying his dramas.

Do you still remember this statement from one of his popular drama “Zino”? “Ndamboti ndakaenda kuUniversity here ini? Inongori scope medula blangata yangu inongori sharp . . . I know they hate me I know they think I am more clever to them,” said the comical Paraffin.

He was one of the talented actors to emerge from the country that has a crop of actors like Zuku, Mukadota and Mutirowafanza. Some of his statements like “Nhai nurse ndokumbirawo mejensi,” cannot be forgotten as they made Baba vaSorobhi a household name. To date some of these comical phrases remain part of the lingo that people use, a legacy of the late comical figure who hailed from Mabvuku.

Besides being comic Baba Sorobhi’s antics were used to give some lessons in the society. Burning issues like domestic violence, family planning and inheritance were also tackled in his dramas. Cases of infidelity that are rising today were also denounced by the comical Paraffin.

He also looked at the touchy topic of female dressing, an issue that resonates today as some touts are on trial for undressing a woman at a local commuter omnibus terminus. The reason why Paraffin stood out was that he did not lose any entertainment value in passing on his messages, a weakness of many Zimbabwean productions that become documentaries instead of creative stories.

Paraffin was known for coining his street language to suit any situation, and he would sometimes move away from the script to inject some humour in his act. Sadly the actor’s legacy will just be kept by his works as there is no convincing heir apparent to take the acting crown he left.

Of the five children he left only one Tarisai (26) is still in Zimbabwe with her other siblings scattered around the globe. Some his children include Tawanda and Tendai in South Africa, and Rutendo and Sharon in the United Kingdom. Paraffin’s wife, Ebbah, died in 2000.

Though Paraffin was known in the drama series as a trouble monger, incorrigible gossip, a sharp-tongued person ever ready to cut any unfortunate victim crossing his path to the bone with his words, his daughter says he was a different person in real life. “Though I was still young during the time of his death, I know that he was a quiet man who would throw some jokes here and there,” she said.

Contrary to the role he played where he expressed himself as an illiterate individual merely driven by desire to feed his stomach as well as an inconsiderate individual who did not mind the consequences of his action to others, the legendary actor was in real life a responsible husband driven by the love to fend for his family.

Source : The Herald