RICHARD Phiri, popularly known as Micah from the hit drama series Amakorokoza, has died.
He was 62.
Phiri died at his home in Mpopoma suburb on Thursday night after a long illness.
In Amakorokoza, he played the role of Micah, the sharp-tongued hilarious and cunning farm hand that would cover up for Ntokozo, (Precious Makhulumo) his boss’ sister in law’s illegal gold dealing.
Family spokesperson and nephew Michael Mhlanga said Phiri would be buried at West Park Cemetery on Monday with a church service set to be held at St Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Mpopoma in the morning.
Narrating Phiri’s last hours, Mhlanga said his uncle had been seriously ill.
“On Thursday at around 8PM, we’d prepared supper for my uncle as we wanted him to eat before we took him to hospital as his condition had worsened.
“He’d been sleeping in his room for the past two days. When the food was ready, I went to the room to wake him up and discovered he wasn’t responsive. I called the neighbours to help me and after a couple of attempts, they informed me that my uncle was no more. We then called Nyaradzo to come and collect his body,” said Mhlanga.
He said although they were devastated as a family, his uncle wanted them to celebrate his life than grieve.
He was a very jovial person who would spend most of his time with the family cracking jokes. There was no difference between his onscreen character and the off-screen one.
“During our time together, he’d say we shouldn’t mourn him when he dies, but rather celebrate his life. So as a family, we’re doing so and sharing jokes he used to crack.”
Fellow actor from the drama, Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, who acted as Tashi (Micah’s boss at the farm), said she was heartbroken.
“Let me hasten to say he has gone to a better place. This is because I saw him suffer for a long time and we at one stage of his illness, opened a policy for him and his family at Nyaradzo.
“He was dear to me and the acting fraternity. He was a fighter who loved me and I loved him,” said Mpofu-Sibanda.
Phiri was born on May 8, 1955 at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and learnt at Lukhanyiso Primary and Msiteli High Schools in Mpopoma. He worked for the then Rhodesian Army in the signals band and was a self-taught carpenter.
He joined the then Amakhosi Arts Centre in 1992, but his acting career stretched as far as 1968 where he acted with the late comedian Michael Madlez’babayo” Moyo doing street theatre and stage acts in schools and community halls.
Phiri is survived by two daughters, a son and two grandchildren. Mourners are gathered at block 44/1422 Mpopoma.
His body will lie in state at his home tomorrow before burial on Monday