By Kondwani Magombo – Mana.
Veteran stage dramatist and founder of the once mighty Umodzi Drama Group, Peter Kunje has described Eric Mabedi’s demise as a ‘paralyzing blow’ to stage drama and to the country as a whole.
Kunje, now based in Mangochi and serving as a priest for the Orthodox Church in Malawi said he could not believe the news about Mabedi’s death until a close relation to the departed artist confirmed it.
“I’m very shocked to learn that one of my closest friends, my son and my brother, Eric Mabedi is no more,” he said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday.
He added: “I knew Eric through late Charles Severe who told me that he had found a young talented man and when I met Eric, I knew the drama world had realized a big gain.”
Kunje said Mabedi’s combination with John Nyanga as Izeki and Jakobo, later was another perfect match of comedians Malawians had ever had.
The former stage drama director described Mabedi as a teacher who has sharpened many upcoming actors and actresses in the country.
“Eric was one of our remaining ambassadors alongside, Charles Mphoka, Bon Kalindo and few others who have kept Kwathu Drama Group alive,” Kunje said.
“As old timers in the field, Eric was our pride and his works in the world of drama shall forever be cherished for generations,” he added.
Mabedi, popularly known as Jakobo in stage acting, stormed the stage three decades ago and he entertained Malawians through rib-tickling comedies alongside his super-talented counterpart John Nyanga (Izeki), who died in May, 2016.
He was until his death president for the National Theatre Association of Malawi and Director for Kwathu Drama Group.
The legendary comedian who hailed from Thumbwe Village in Chiradzulu District succumbed to Covid-19 on Monday morning at Mwaiwathu Hospital, according to media reports.
Mabedi’s remains are to be buried at the Catholic Institute (CI) cemetery in Blantyre.
Mabedi, 58 is survived by a wife and two children.