He was once the master of local television. Draped in his signature makeshift khaki short and black vest, sometimes barefoot, his witty humour would guarantee millions of eyes glued to the television set.
Lazarus Boora, who rose to fame through his role as “Gringo”, remains among veterans of local television.
Who would have imagined him back to default setting, re-embracing a rural life?
Though long past his prime, and now relocated to his rural home, Rukweza Village in Nyazura, Gringo believes his glory days are not yet over.
It’s not every day that celebrities of national acclaim move back to rural areas, especially when they still have more to offer to the world.
But sometimes it is a good idea to go back to one’s roots, reflect on their life, gain some perspective, before resuming one’s career.
It was this great need of fresh air, and new insights on life that drove Gringo back to where he gasped his first breath.
This follows his recent surgical operation for appendix rapture.
A visit to Gringo’s homestead, a decently built home well inviting, and modest finds a once spirited individual whose witty humour always drove the nation in stitches, a fable of his former being, thin and visibly in pain.
Gringo laboriously takes his time to walk, stops every now and again to gain his composure, yet still, he remains hopeful for a better future.
He is not the jovial spirit always cracking jokes, one would expect to meet, but a quiet person, seemingly tired, maybe from his ailment and drugs.
Gringo and his wife are very welcoming and happy to receive visitors.
“I am now well, the worst is over,” he said. “What I cannot really do is the hard jobs.”
Gringo can even drive himself.
When Herald Arts and Culture team arrived at his home, Gringo had gone to queue for fuel in Nyazura, just over 10 kilometres from his home.
He had made the journey alone, something he believes is a sign of recovery, but his wife believes he needs to take it easy and follow doctors’ orders to rest for eight months.
“I moved back to where I was born to rest and I believe the fresh air here has helped with my recovery,” said Gringo. “Life here is also affordable, you can grow your own food and what you need to buy is cheap.
“I believe urban areas are spaces you go to look for money, when you fall sick its best to come back home to recuperate.”
Gringo said there were some special diets recommended by doctors that were sometimes hard to come by.
“Sometimes we struggle to buy the special foods the doctors recommend, if I get help with that I will be grateful” he said.
“I was told that the doctors removed some valve from my intestines which then troubles me at times, that’s why these dietary restrictions. I’m also in pain when its cloudy due to my operation.”
Gringo, who is a self-confessed member of an apostolic sect, attributes his ailment to traditional spirits, but refused to give details on what exactly he found after consulting with spiritual healers.
“Yes, there are things that we found out which I’m not at liberty to say,” said Gringo. “All I can say is that there are evil spirits at play.”
Since moving back to Rukweza, Gringo has been well-received by the community which supports him in different ways.
“We are a well-knit community that gets along well,” he said. “I’m in good books with everyone even the village head that’s why it was easy to settle back in. Besides I used to visit my home area even before falling sick.”
Gringo has no plans to return to the city life anytime soon.
“My leaving urban areas does not spell my end,” he said.
“I can still work from here, maybe go to my shoots and return to Rukweza after. Thanks to technology, I’m in constant touch with friends and people I work with.”
The actor had suspended work.
“I had stopped work altogether when I moved here that I even suspended working on ‘Village Secrets’ a television series I was starring in,” he said.
Gringo is not the first local artist who has moved to the rural areas, with local musician Roki now living in Seke, Mateo in Domboshawa and film maker Michael Zemura, who is now based in Murehwa.