Zimbabwean Film Industry Mourns the Loss of Pioneering Actress Stella January

March 29, 2024
Stella January | Report Focus News
Stella January

Harare, Zimbabwe – The film and arts scene in Zimbabwe is facing a profound loss with the passing of Stella January, an acclaimed actress and the founder of the Mufakose Film Society, after a determined battle with cancer. January, who left an indelible mark on Zimbabwean cinema with her role in the critically acclaimed drama “Yellow Card,” succumbed to the illness on Wednesday night, following a diagnosis in February 2023 and subsequent treatment at Karanda Hospital.

Throughout her illustrious career, January captivated audiences with her diverse roles in productions such as “Mawoko Matema,” where she portrayed the character of Mai Mufundisi, and other notable films including “Tangled,” “Gringo the Troublemaker,” “Ndafunga Kure,” and “Chipo.” Her sister, Cecilia Zimbanje, confirmed her passing, leaving a community of artists and fans to mourn the loss of a remarkable talent.

Tributes have poured in from across the industry, highlighting January’s significant contributions and her undervalued stature within the field. Actor Blessing Chimhowa, better known as Mbudzi Yadhura, reflected on her legacy, stating to ZBC News, “I am not mourning; we are celebrating the footprints left by Stella. She was one of the most underrated actresses of our generation.” Chimhowa emphasized the breadth of January’s work and her dedication to the arts, noting the lack of recognition she received despite her substantial impact.

The arts community, friends, and family are convening at 23 Nzou Street, Mufakose, Harare, to honor January’s life and achievements. Her burial is scheduled to take place at Glenforest, marking the final farewell to a figure whose influence on Zimbabwean arts and culture will be remembered.

Stella January’s legacy encompasses not only her memorable performances but also her role in nurturing emerging talent through the Mufakose Film Society. Her passing is a significant loss to the cultural fabric of Zimbabwe, leaving behind a legacy of artistic excellence and passion.