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Gringo vs Ginimbi in the court of public opinion

By Farai Maguwu

IN the past week Zimbabwe lost two well known celebrities who left contrasting legacies. Both were well known for their contributions to the entertainment industry. They both had larger than life personalities, hence their deaths caused much pain, shock and grief among their followers, families and friends.

Gringo, whose real name was Lazarus Boora, born in Rukweza communal lands near Nyazura, rose to fame through comedy in the late 90s. He was good at his industry to an extend many agree he completed Zimbabwe’s comedian trinity which is heralded by Safirio Madzikatire (Mukadota) and Mutirowafanza, born Simon Shumba.

Following the death of Mukadota which also took place during the twilight of Mutirowafanza and Paraffin, Gringo rose like a bright shinning star that gave hope to Zimbabwe’s dying entertainment industry.

However, despite all his popularity, Gringo did not get significant financial returns from his labors. In his last moments there were public appeals for funds to cover his medical bills. He united the nation in his passing as almost everyone was full of nothing but praise for a life well lived.

Gringo continues to live in the hearts of millions of Zimbabweans who were still crying for more at the time of his demise.

However the same cannot be said of Ginimbi, born Genius Kadungure and known as Minister of Entertainment by his adoring fans. Ginimbi rose to fame through his famous All White Parties which he sponsored.

He was also famous for buying fancy cars which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars each. The fleet included Roll Royce Ghost (2016), Roll Royce Ghost (2018)
Rolls Royce Wraith which ultimately killed him, Mercedes Benz G63 Brabus, Range Rover Lumma, Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari 488 Spider, Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe, Bentley Bentayga, Bentley Mulsanne, Range Rover Velar and Mercedes Benz S-class.

Following his death there has been a raging debate over his source of wealth. Majority of ZImbabweans did not even know what business Ginimbi was involved in until his death.

Many argue that even though it is true he was in the gas industry, his business was very small such that it could not have supplied him with the millions he splashed on entertainment with no profitable returns. In the court of public opinion Ginimbi made his money either through organized crime such as selling drugs or he was a member of some occult.

Ginimbi also build a lavish mansion at his Domboshawa village. The imposing mansion is a sharp contrast to the tiny huts of his neighbors. Despite showcasing massive amounts of USD notes, Ginimbi is not known for any Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

Even at the height of Covid-19 infections in Zimbabwe, it is not clear if he ever donated anything towards the cause.

Ginimbi died in a horror crash on his way home from a birthday bash he had hosted for one of the ladies, a socialite, who also died in the accident, Michelle ‘Moana’ Amuli.

Two others also lost their lives in the crash. One of the crash victims is said to be a fugitive from Malawi who was involved in a $30 million heist before fleeing to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s extremely conservative society has passed a harsh verdict on Ginimbi for splashing millions on entertainment whilst turning a blind eye to rags and squalid poverty around him and even to his own family.

He also stands accused of engaging in social activities frowned upon by most Zimbabweans. One of the ladies who died in the crash is said to have been disowned by her parents whilst the relationship between Ginimbi and his father is subject to much speculation.

On the other hand speaker after speaker spoke of Gringo as a family unifier who did much for his people despite him being of average income.

In conclusion what people seem to be focusing at is the condition of the heart and not amount of wealth one amassed. They feel Gringo’s heart was in the right place and he labored for the little he had in life whilst Ginimbi’s source of wealth will remain as controversial as his lifestyle.

Zimbabwe’s inequality levels are perplexing. Whilst the country’s economic indicators are all in the negative amidst grinding poverty for the masses, some extremely wealthy individuals with no serious business profiles have emerged. They do not produce anything or solve any social problem. They have found ways of manipulating the system to their own advantage with impunity.

Interestingly the State did not show any interest in investigating Ginimbi’s source of wealth despite him showcasing huge stacks of money in a country with an acute shortage of forex.

Most ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to get their USD from local banks. Some argue Ginimbi was into money laundering.

As Ginimbi and Gringo left simultaneously they remind me of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.

However, a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Again what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.

Let us remember we brought nothing into this world and we shall take nothing when we exit it. Let us strive to be kind to each other and work for wealth that is permanent, immortal and eternal. – Zimbabwe Voice

  • The views expressed in this article are of the writer.

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