Wednesday, 23 October 2019

ARTWELL MANDAZA SNUBBED IN DEATH


THE domestic sporting fraternity connived to betray the best sprinter to emerge in this country, Artwell Mandaza, when they snubbed his burial yesterday.

Mandaza, who died at Howard Mission Hospital on Monday, was laid to rest at his rural home in Nhutsve Village, Chiweshe.

But the scenes at his homestead, before his burial, were not consistent with someone who once clocked 9,9sec in a 100m race back in 1970.

There was no one from the Ministry of Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation in attendance for the burial of this legend. Instead, his funeral resembled that of a mere villager.

Even his wife, Mebo, who died on December 23, 2015 was given a huge send-off, surprisingly by the same people who abandoned Mandaza yesterday.

Only National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe vice-president Enias Nhoro, former president Joseph Mungwari and some board members, as well as athletes Abel Chimukoko and Mako Mambo, were in attendance.

Sports Commissioner Nigel Munyati had to drive all the way to Chiweshe, just after touching down in Harare from personal business outside the country, to attend the burial. 

Besides those few stakeholders, and a handful of journalists, the funeral only had mourners from surrounding villages and the Salvation Army’s Nzvimbo corps.

Nhoro gave a moving tribute in his speech.

“We are gathered here to celebrate the life of arguably the best athlete of all time in Zimbabwean sporting history.

“If one looks at it in retrospective, the feat he managed to attain against the background of racial inequalities, Mandaza was just a rare talent,” said Nhoro.

“The prizes he has under his belt are incredible. “Had it not been for the punishing laws, against black Africans during his time, most probably, he would have won several medals at Olympic Games. 

“His contribution to athletics is second to none right from his time as an athlete up to administration.

“Sport was his middle name and it’s unfortunate the country has lost such an incredible figure. The void he has left in the sport will be difficult to fill.”

Munyati described Mandaza as an inspirational figure. “Whether one was into boxing, football or any other sport, Mandaza’s achievements would always inspire you to want to do even better. “His records, his passion and determination pushed some of us into sport.

“The country has lost a hero,” said Munyati. Herald

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