Saturday, 26 October 2019

ZIM FAMILY THAT PERISHED IN SA LAID TO REST IN CHIPINGE

A SOMBRE mood permeated Ngaone Village of Chipinge district where the remains of four Zimbabwean family members, who were killed in a road accident in South Africa, were finally interred at their rural homestead on Wednesday.



Godfrey Tonde Sithole, his wife Faith Mutisi, their two daughters Shalom and Shekina, died on the spot when their fairly new car, a Toyota Fortuner, was involved in a head-on collision with a Porsche Cayenne on the N11 highway near Modelkloof in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province on October 12.

There was no body viewing rite as the dead were burnt beyond recognition. Apparently, Sithole and his family were coming from Ngaone Village where they had gone for a week-long visit.

However, news of the Sithole family’s fatal accident was broken to some of their relatives through social media before official channels could inform them.

His cousin Cleopas Mlambo said: “I first saw their pictures and a caption on a Whatsapp group stating that they had been involved in an accident. I was so disturbed and reached out to my brother who was also not aware. That was some hours after it had happened. We then got official communication from South Africa through our relatives also based in the same country the next day.”

He said it was difficult to believe that the deceased had been involved in an accident after they had communicated earlier on saying they had arrived safely.

“It was difficult to believe at first because he had communicated to a number of relatives who then posted on a family WhatsApp group that he had arrived safely. I think he sent out those messages because he was near to his place but he had not yet arrived,” he said.

Mrs Mavis Muzhanje, mother to Godfrey’s wife, could barely come to terms with losing her daughter and breadwinner. 

“This is so painful. She was the breadwinner in our family. Together with her husband they were taking care of us well. We really do not know how we will move on from here. They did everything for us including paying school fees for a number of children in the family.”

Mrs Muzhanje said she had a dream about an accident a day before it happened.

“I actually dreamt about it before it happened. It was a strange and scary dream. In that dream, I was inconsolable as people broke the news to me that my child had died in an accident. The strange thing is that I was not really informed exactly who among my children had died. I thought it was just a dream but later in the day received news that indeed my daughter, her husband and their kids had died.”

Speaker after speaker during the interment rite spoke about how Sithole loved his family.

Mr Zakaria Mateta, who led a group of former schoolmates that drove to pay their last respects to their departed friend, also learnt of Sithole’s death through the social media.

“I am gutted by Tonderai Sithole’s demise. From our high school days at Biriiri our friendship developed further as we would constantly interact and the most important thing we learnt from him was to love our families. He inspired many people and may their souls rest in eternal peace. 

“I got the news of his death on a WhatsApp group I created called Bhora Redu. Another former Biriiri High School student Justice Sithole posted the sad news on the group on Sunday night.

“I read the news but could not comment as I was shocked that he was involved in an accident as he had posted earlier on that he had arrived safely in SA. I gathered courage the next day to comment about the disaster but it was difficult to believe that he was no more,” he said.

A Mutare based former classmate of the deceased at Biriiri High School, Caroline Gatsi, said: “We all knew how Tonde loved his family. The bond between him and his family was so strong that if one or two of them had survived it was going to be really difficult for the survivor to bear the pain.

“The bond was so strong that they were always together. Imagine they had the option of leaving the kids behind given that school term is still underway in South Africa but they still had to travel together.”

Sithole was a forester who was well known in the industry after years of working for Border Timbers at Imbeza plantation.

The accident occurred at night between Ladysmith and Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Manica Post

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