Zimbabwean Playwright and culturalist Stephen Chifunyise died from cancer on Monday, his family confirmed.

Chifunyise was 70 years old.

He co-founded the Children’s Performing Arts Workshop (Chipawo) in 1989—where the likes of Danai Gurira (Black Panther), the late singer Chiwoniso Maraire and Chipo Chung (Into The Badlands) honed their skills.

A total of 63 Chifunyise’s plays were performed on stage, radio and TV in Zambia, Zimababwe, Sweden, South Africa, Malawi, India and the UK, BBC reports. Several of his scripts in the 1970s were broadcast on Zambian television and were produced by Rooftop Promotions theatre company in Zimbabwe.

Chifunyise also served in various public positions for the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments.

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, which Chifunyise served from 2004 to 2008, said in a statement “enveloped with intense anguish, sadness and complete helplessness” at the passing of the “iconic and revered” playwright, according to a Facebook post.

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