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Zimbabwe Film Industry Mourns the Passing of Stellah January: Veteran Actress of “Gringo the Trouble Maker” Fame Dies at 55

The Zimbabwean film community is reeling from the loss of esteemed actress Stellah January, who passed away at the age of 55.

Stellah January’s demise, which occurred on Wednesday evening, has left colleagues and friends in the industry grieving. While specific details surrounding her passing remain undisclosed, tributes have poured in from various quarters of the film and entertainment fraternity.

Condolences have flooded social media platforms as friends, fans, and fellow industry professionals remember January for her extraordinary talent and unwavering dedication to her craft.

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Colleagues who had the privilege of collaborating with her have hailed her as a quintessential embodiment of the Zimbabwean woman both on and off the screen.

Among those paying homage is film producer Siza Mukwedini, who extolled January’s acting prowess and her advocacy for women’s rights within the film industry.

Mukwedini recalled January’s commitment to ensuring a safe and equitable environment for women in the industry, emphasizing her courage in speaking out against injustice.

“If you need a really good actress that represents the true Zimbabwean woman, call Stellah January ndozvataiziva isu. And she would come and she would act the hell out of that piece. Off-screen, she also stood for women. I remember conversing with her about how they had been unfair but the women were afraid to speak up and she said to me, Siza, even if you were the only person on the group who stood up and said we were harassed and no one else does, I would believe you. No woman should feel unsafe on set, even if it was emotional. Maitwa sei nhai Amai,” penned Siza in her heartfelt tribute to the actress.

Stellah January’s legacy extends beyond her performances on both the big and small screens. From her debut in the acclaimed film “Yellow Card” to her appearances in television dramas like “Dzamombe Dzemashanga” and “Murambiwa,” January showcased her versatility and talent across various mediums. Her filmography includes a range of productions such as “The Team,” “Nyaminyami,” and “Masimba, Pfuma,” among others.

In addition to her acting career, Stellah January was dedicated to nurturing emerging talent, evidenced by her establishment of the Mufakose Film Society.

She also played a pivotal role as chairperson of the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ), leaving a lasting impact on the industry’s landscape.

Stellah January’s passing marks the end of a chapter in Zimbabwean cinema, but her contributions and influence will endure as a testament to her indelible mark on the film community.

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