“I have not been strong enough in my life to face up to my personal troubles. Look at Pauline (Gundidza), Roki’s ex-wife, or more globally at Rihanna — they are brave women who faced their demons and exposed their suffering at the hands of men.”
These words were said by Chipo Bizure, an actress famed for her role as Eve in the once popular soapie Studio 263, as she opened up on her last marriage to a Zambian national, whose divorce papers are still to be finalised.
Chipo now lives with her daughter in Harare while her estranged husband Mapanda “Bolly” Kashweka who lives in Braeside has rekindled his love with Sibongile Muzungunya, the mother of his daughter.
The two parties, Chipo and Kashweka, are embroiled in a nasty divorce, which has sucked in relatives and friends.
Kashweka is accusing Chipo of dragging her feet in formalising the divorce so that he can go ahead and marry Sibongile, whom he is now cohabiting with while Chipo denies the allegations.
Said Chipo: “I am the one who divorced him in 2010 and he ran away to Zambia refusing to sign the papers. I think now he has pressure from Sibo(ngile) who wants to be the official wife and, instead of coming to me and my lawyers formally, he rushes to the Press.”
Chipo, who had been through two marriages before meeting Kashweka, says she regrets not coming out in the open to expose the abusive nature of her then husband, whom she is still technically married to.
She says she would get beaten up over “silly things” or for no apparent reason.
“At first I did not want people to know but there came a time when I could not hide it anymore as more and more of my friends and relatives urged me to leave him or seek help.
“I went to Msasa Project where I was counselled before going ahead to institute divorce proceedings again with the help of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association,” said Chipo.
She says had she stayed longer than she did, Kashweka could have killed or maimed her.
“He even bought a gun, which he wanted to shoot me with. My friends, his brother Munyaradzi, my mother and our maid know about this. I made a police report at Hatfield Police Station and they even confiscated the gun,” she said.
Efforts to verify her claims with the people whose names and numbers she gave us were unsuccessful but a woman claiming to be her mother corroborated her story.
“I am Chipo’s mother Mrs Susan Zvavare and I want to thank you for writing this story. This thing has been eating me up for a long time. That man abused my daughter in ways I have not seen in my entire life,” said Mrs Zvavare. She said during Chipo’s stay with Kashweka, especially after he had been taken to court for fraud — she was literally taking care of the pair.
“I was running two homes — mine and theirs. You can ask Mai Sahwa, the maid they were staying with at the time — they could go for days without anything to eat in the house. But my daughter told me she loved him, so I had no choice but make sure they were well.
“I am hardworking and so is Chipo, and so when she went back to work doing her acting and other things it would pain me to see her taking care of that irresponsible wife-basher. She would go out of the country and bring him clothes, even undergarments,” said Mrs Zvavare.
Kashweka and his wife Sibongile, whose union is customary, insist that it is Chipo who is the “evil one”, “going after rich men and sucking them dry”.
“Chipo stole my husband from me when I was pregnant, fooled him to live a lavish life he could not sustain and when Kashweka was broke, she left him in the cold and I had to take him back,” said Sibongile.
“As we speak, Chipo is stalling the divorce process, which when completed will enable me to officially marry my husband before a marriage officer. I love my husband and our marriage will not be that of convenience.
“I am the only Mrs Kashweka in Zimbabwe and Chipo does not want to finalise the divorce case she started because she is scared of losing the car and other valuables she moved out of my husband’s house with,” she added.
Kashweka, who at first appeared shy, said that Chipo had become an obstacle in his new life.
“I am living a happy life with Sibongile. I want to officially marry her before the courts, but look at what Chipo is up to? She has been dragging her feet when it comes to finalising the divorce. It has been two years now and I cannot continue taking this as it has become a topical issue in my home.
“My wife (Sibongile) is pained by what Chipo is doing,” said Kashweka.
He dismissed Chipo’s claims that he ran away when she wanted to divorce him, saying he was out of the country when she filed the papers and when he returned, she decided to play hard-to-get.
He said when they went their separate ways, Chipo kept everything, including the car. Chipo refutes this allegation, saying he had nothing except a stolen truck. Sibongile, who was carrying her two-year-six-month-old daughter, Marble, revealed that “Chipo was always sending us from one lawyer to the other when we needed her to accompany us to the courts so that we could finalise the matter.
“My husband is fed up with Chipo. Look, our daughter is growing up and needs a normal life that does not involve a father being dragged before the courts by some woman of questionable morals,” she said.
Chipo Bizure has been unlucky in love following three failed marriages in four years.
Fellow Studio 263 heart-throb Denzel Burutsa was her first husband in 1995 followed by businessman Silvanos Mudekunye in 2007. Kashweka was her third husband after the two married in 2009.