Enock Chihombori (born 5 June 1971) is a Botswana based Zimbabwean film producer, scriptwriter, actor, author and cartoonist. He is also a Mechanical Design Draughtsman. Chihombori is known mostly for the creation of the Gringo cartoon character in newspapers, and later, the television comedy Gringo.
Enock Chihombori was born in Lusaka Zambia on 5 June 1971. He moved to Zimbababwe in 1981. Formally got employed by Byco Industries (Shelf manufacturing Company) as a Sales Draughtsman in 1991. He worked at Byco for six months before leaving to join Cochrane Engineering as a Trainee Mechanical Design Draughtsman.
Career as a cartoonist, script writer & film producer
Chihombori has said he started drawing cartoons mainly because he enjoyed reading cartoons as a kid. While in form 6, Chihombori developed a cartoon character called Gringo, which he drew for a local vernacular paper, Kwayedza. He also occasionally did cartoons for various other publications.
After school in 1991, Chihombori went straight to work. As he was pursuing his professional career, Chihombori never stopped drawing cartoons for various newspapers, magazines and newsletters. One cartoon that kept him very busy was the Gringo cartoon that he was doing on a weekly basis for Kwayedza. By 1994, people were urging him to produce a cartoon book for this Gringo character. He tried to do so, but he had a tough time because publishers were telling him that Zimbabweans do not have a culture of reading cartoon books, let alone buying them. Chihombori realised that the other problem was that the cartoon character Gringo was not well known to people who did not read Kwayedza. He then decided to give Gringo more publicity by having him on TV.
In 1995 veteran writer Charles Mungoshi advised Chihombori to write his own stories rather than expect other people to do it for him. He then embarked on a 3 year mission to teach himself how to write television and film scripts. By 1998 he had his first Gringo script which was produced by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) as a television comedy drama series. The work was therefore owned by ZBC. The Gringo series was a hit in Zimbabwe.
Along with the debuting of the comedy, Chihombori took his first acting role of Toby in Gringo, mainly because he had no time to seek for actors to play that role. The original actor they had cast left a few days before shooting. The director had seen Chihombori demonstrating how he wanted the character of Toby to be portrayed and she felt Chihombori could do it well. Chihombori was however taught more about acting at a drama club called Screentalent which he joined in 1997.
The Gringo character in the comedy series was played by Lazarus Boora, who became a local celebrity as a result of him performing the role outstandingly.
Gringo Troublemaker and Piracy
In early 2013 Chihombori released his first feature film, Gringo Troublemaker. The file was so heavily pirated that he said later they didn't get much in revenue from it. Chihombori used his personal savings to produce the film. Chihombori also borrowed money to cover some of the production costs. In total, the film cost him US $50,000
Chihombori said he had made loss on the film as the revenue failed to pay for its production. "We were kicked out of business by people who were pirating our product. It’s going to be a miracle if we ever manage to recover money to do another production of Gringo," Chihombori said, commenting on the piracy.
Pirate Gringo Troublemaker DVD copies were made available on the streets while the film was still in the cinemas. It was reported that pirates recorded the film while watching it in cinemas. Chihombori's plan was to make the film available first at the cinemas and television before DVDs, a model that works well in developed markets like the North America.
Eventually Chihombori released a DVD but by that time there wasn't much to make in sales. Due to the piracy, Chihombori said he was now focusing on another carrier and taking film making just as a hobby.
While receiving an award for the Gringo Troublemaker film in February 2014, Chihombori broke down in tears saying the award he had received was the only bright light for the pirated drama. “Of all the productions I have made, this is the one that gave me the biggest headache. Nama is the only bright light that comes from it...I used my money to make it but nothing has come from it as it was pirated,” Chihombori said in tears.
- Gringo (1998) - Directed by Dorothy Chidzawo
- NdiGringo Chete (1999) - Directed by Dorothy Chidzawo
- Gringo Ndiani (2001) - Produced & directed by Arnold Shoko
- Cobra (2001) - Produced & directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo – Christmas presents (2002) - Produced & directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo – Christmas Dinner (2002) - Produced & directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo Mari Iripi? (2003) - Produced & directed by Arnold Shoko
- Gringo Aripo (2005)
- Enock Chihombori’s Gringo Stories (2007)
- Unlucky Guy - (yet to be produced)
- Gringo cartoon book (1998)
- The Woodcutter (2007) - Lleemon Publishers
- 2002 National Arts Merit Awards Best TV Drama Series - Grindo Ndiani
- 2002 National Arts Merit Awards Best Actor - Lazarus Boora
- 2002 National Arts Merit Awards Best Film and Television Script Writer - Enock Chihombori
- 2003 National Arts Merit Awards Best Television and film Script Writer - Enock Chihombori for Cobra
- 2007 National Arts Merit Awards Best Children’s Story Book - The Woodcutter
- 2004 National Arts Merit Awards Best Television and film Script Writer - Enock Chihombori for Gringo Mari Iripi?
- 2014 National Arts Merit Awards Best Outstanding Screen Production — Gringo Troublemaker
Chihombori marrried Noreen Kariwo in 2000. Together they have a daughter Kimberly who was born in 2002.
- Enock Chihombori, Enock Chihombori Profile, Zimlegends, Retrieved:24 March 2014
- Enock Chihombori Zimbabwe Film Producer, African Breakfast, Retrieved:24 March 2014
- Gringo the Troublemaker producer in trouble, NewsDay, Published:24 October 2013, Retrieved:24 March 2014
- Gringo producer cries foul, The Herald, Published:6 August 2013, Retrieved:24 March 2014
- VASCO CHAYA AND IDAH MHETU, Producer breaks down at Nama, Daily News, Published:18 February 2014, Retrieved:24 March 2014