TODAY, she could properly be still employed as a receptionist and reservationist at a hotel in Glen Lorne, Harare, but the COVID-19-induced lockdowns in 2020 saw her being retrenched.

After the company she was working for trimmed its workforce and despite the gravity of her predicament of being jobless, for Beatrice Mudzingwa  the situation was really no laughing matter that one could not even have imagined going into comedy to eke out a living.

But she actually dared and now she can even afford to joke about her past predicament. Mudzingwa, now popularly known as Bee WeZhira, or Senzeni, a shabbily-dressed young female character donning an old-style wig and a worn-out school shoe in her skits, is a complete opposite of her former and her other real life persona: A teacher.

Asked what inspired her dressing when portraying the character of Senzeni, she said: “Nobody made me think of using that attire, but based on my character, it looks like Senzeni and not Bee. Senzeni is somehow mentally challenged, so her attire has no order. She just puts on what is there.”

Growing up in Jahwa/Chekai village in Chivi district, near Ngundu growth point, Bee WeZhira never imagined that she would one day be famous, with everyone literally eating from her palm.

Now schools, car hire and décor companies are seeking her services to market their businesses.

For her education, Bee WeZhira — born in a family of five, three girls and two boys — attended Zunga Primary School, and then Neruvanga High School for both Ordinary and Advanced Levels (Form 1 to Form 6).

After completing her A Level studies, Bee WeZhira went to Gokwe for temporary teaching in 2014.

“From Gokwe, I enrolled at the Great Zimbabwe University for a Bachelor of Education from 2015 up to June 2019,” she said. “I graduated in November 2019. I am a high school teacher by profession.”

Asked about her age, Bee WeZhira was coy, but estimated to be between 26 and 30.

“I am not going to tell,” she said, a chuckle punctuating her response.

When she left home for temporary teaching in Gokwe in 2014, her family was displaced by the flooding Tugwi-Mukosi Dam. That same year, one of her sisters passed on.

“We moved to Chingwizi and now my parents stay there. I go there (to see them) three times a year,” she said.

At the moment, she is self-employed “whiling up” time doing skits while residing at her cousin’s place in Goromonzi, north east of Harare.

She is not yet married, but dating.

“I am in a relationship, but not at liberty to disclose his name,” she snickered.

Bee WeZhira says she was inspired into skits by Madam Boss (Tarisai Chikocho) and Mai Titi (Felistas Murata) and ventured into the industry at the tail-end of 2020.

“I started with TikTok and then later created a Facebook page in November 2020, which now has 305 000 followers. On Instagram, I have 10 500 followers, more than 21 000 on Tiktok, and more than 18 000 subscribers on YouTube,” she said.

The commediene said she has no sponsor, but corporates have been handy.

“The corporates give me endorsement deals when they want me to market their businesses. I get paid for it and this helps me earn a decent living as well as send something to my parents back home,” she said.

But how does she come up with those skits?

“You will be trying everything to find your footing in the entertainment sector.

“I have played different characters like Amai Ruvimbo mukadzi waMike, Bee Rasta, Mbuya vaPritchard and then Senzeni,” she explained. “I have noticed that among all those characters, Senzeni is the most loved, so she is now the only character that I play.”

She added: “Here and there when I feel like dishing out something different, I do play the other characters, but I know people don’t like them as compared to Senzeni.”

About the growing followership and huge number of views, Bee WeZhira said it motivated her to keep on producing more skits.

“Those huge numbers are actually my motivation, or rather my inspiration.

“Whenever I think of quitting, I think of the support that I get from my fans. I then tell myself to keep on pushing and see how it will end or where we will get. I just pray that people continue loving and supporting me,” she said.

Bee WeZhira said even though showbiz does not reward that much in Zimbabwe, she is just hopeful to continue earning enough for herself and parents’ upkeep back in her rural home.

And oh, her favourite dish is rice and chicken.

Source Newsday