Mai Sorobhi
Mai Sorobhi.jpg
BornRhoda Mtembe
Died12 September 2022
Sally Mugabe Central Hospital
Cause of deathStroke complications
EducationMutambara Primary and Secondary School
  • Actress
Known forActing as Paraffin's wife in the 1990s
Spouse(s)Vaxison Mtembe (Late)

Mai Sorobhi was a popular Zimbabwean actress who rose to prominence in the early 1990s with the drama series 'Paraffin' which made her a household name.


Rhoda Mtembe was married to Vaxison Mtembe who passed away in 2001. The couple were blessed with seven children and fifteen grandchildren.[1]

Acting career

Before venturing into a distinguished acting career, Mtembe worked for City of Harare as a health promoter at a clinic in Glen View and was acting in dramas that focused on child abuse, HIV and Aids.

Novelist, playwright and actor Aaron Chiundura Moyo said discovered Mai Sorobhi’s acting gift in Dema in the early 1990s.[2]

Moyo said he referred Mtembe to scriptwriter, director and television producer Agnes Gwatiringa, who scripted and directed the Paraffin drama series. Moyo said:

Back then, there were many drama clubs and they worked on dramas themed around domestic violence. The then Radio 4 and Radio 2 were invited to cover. I was representing Radio 2 and Lynnette Mawire was representing Radio 4.

I ended up judging dramas during that function. I then called Mtembe (Mai Sorobhi) in public after her team won and proclaimed that she would be famous.

I told her that she would do well in acting than in comedy because before she even acts, her face would have already acted.

Mai Sorobhi's combination with Paraffin (Baba Sorobhi) was so perfect that many people thought that the two were married in real life.[3]

The veteran actress appeared in dramas such as “Asi Chii Nhai”, “Mwana Anokosha”, “Paraffin 1 to 3” but could not complete shooting part 4 “Nhamo” after the death of the main actor Paraffin.

She said after Paraffin’s death it became difficult for her to land other opportunities in other plays. She tried to return in 2009 with a drama called “Simbimbino” that was a flop.

Mai Sorobhi says her best episodes were the popular “Zino” scene when they go to the hospital to seek assistance for her toothache and the other one when they get lost looking for a house where they are supposed to attend a funeral in Highfield.[4]


Mai Sorobhi suffered a stroke in early 2019. Her condition has deteriorated due to her not getting physio sessions but a well wisher came to her rescue to assist in that regard.[5]


Rhoda Mtembe died in the early hours on 12 September 2022 at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital. Her death was confirmed by Kuwadzana West Member of Parliament, Johnson Matambo.


Her remains were buried at the Warren Hills Cemetery in Harare on Thursday, 15 September 2022.[6]

Mai Sorobhi left behind seven children, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


  1. Yeukai Karengezeka, [1], The Herald, Published: May 19, 2014, Retrieved: December 05, 2019
  2. , Tafadzwa Kachiko, Moyo speaks on discovering Mai Sorobhi’s talent, NewsDay, Published: 14 September 2022, Retrieved: 17 September 2022
  3. Entertainment Reporter, [2], The Herald 2013, Published: 14 Jun 2013, Retrieved: 05 December 2019
  4. Godwin Muzari, [3], Herald, Published: July 20, 2017, Retrieved: December 05, 2019
  5. Talent Gore, [4], Herald1, Published: December 02, 2019, Retrieved: December 05, 2019
  6. , Colette Musanyera, Mai Sorobhi laid to rest, ZBC News, Published: 15 September 2022, Retrieved: 17 September 2022
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