Sunday, 24 June 2018


A BLACK market for graves at popular and sought-after Mtapa Cemetery in Gweru is fast becoming enterprising business as graves are now being sold for as much as $300 when council prices are $11,50 and $23 for children and adults respectively.

While Mtapa Cemetery was decommissioned in 2008 with 16 185 bodies having been buried there, town clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said there were 1 600 graves that had been bought in advance which were still vacant.

She said it had come to her understanding that some of the people or relatives who had rights to the 1 600 graves were allegedly selling them to willing people for $300. With the decommissioning of Mtapa Cemetery, Gweru now has Mkoba 9 Cemetery popularly known as Mupunzarima and Mutasa Cemetery. Ms Gwatipedza said the alleged black market was beyond council since the graves in question were purchased way back.

“That one is beyond us as council. These people purchased the graves long back and said they are for their relatives. They pay rentals yearly. Some of their relatives were buried in rural areas but now they keep the graves to make money. They do it secretly so it’s difficult for us to know what will be happening. There are about 1 600 graves that are reserved at Mtapa Cemetery,” she said.

Ms Gwatipedza said the cost of a grave at council cemeteries is $11,50 for children and $23 for adults.

“We double prices over the weekend and public holidays. Total number of bodies buried in Mtapa Cemetery is 16 185 since March 1897 and it was decommissioned in 2008,” she said.

Even when it was decommissioned Mtapa Cemetery remains the favourite of many bereaved families with the bereaved in Mkoba coming to bury their dead there shunning Mkoba 9 Cemetery. Sunday News


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