Sunday 3 May 2020


A remittance service has pledged to support the relatives of a Zimbabwean NHS mental health worker who died from Covid-19 - leaving her 12-year-old daughter orphaned in the UK with no family.

Single mother Rutendo Mukotsanjera, 45, lived in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire and passed away from coronavirus on April 10 after a two week battle with the infection.

With no family in Britain, her 12-year-old daughter Cheidza, known as Chichi, is now being cared for by members of the Renew Church in Uttoxeter, where her mother worshipped.

Rutendo used to work weekends and evenings to regularly send money back home to Zimbabwe through Mukuru, an African remittance company, to help her loved ones including her 22-year-old son Shungu Shaun and her mother.

According to her sister Rumbidzai, Rutendo was helping her son by renting him a place in the country's capital Harare and paying his school fees so he could complete his GCSEs.

She said Rutendo was still sending money home right up until she passed away, and was very worried about the future well being of her family.

Mukuru has now pledged to continue supporting her son and mother by matching her monthly sends from the past year for the next 12 months - roughly £2,300.

Rumbidzai told FEMAIL: 'My sister was special and so dear to me. I will forever miss her greatly. She still stays close to my heart. Even though I am heartbroken, I thank God for the time we shared.

'Thank you Mukuru, from the bottom of my heart, for thinking of us in this time of mourning.'

Mukuru CEO Andy Jury said a remittance is always more than just about money; it is a representation of the love, care and hard work of senders, with the remittances often being a lifeline, an opportunity or even a celebration to the recipient.

 Pastor with Chichi
He added: 'Miss Mukotsanjera was the very embodiment of a Mukuru customer - hardworking, selfless, and the backbone of the family she supported. We were so saddened to hear of Miss Mukotsanjera's passing.

'We would like to continue that support to her son in Zimbabwe over the next 12 months, to ensure he is able to continue along the path his mother paved for him.'

The Renew Church has also set up a JustGiving page to raise money for Rutendo's funeral as well as legal and support costs for Chichi, which has so far attracted donations of almost £37,000.
Church members have been in contact with Rutendo's relatives in Zimbabwe to decide what to do in the best interests of Chichi, though no firm plans can be made until lockdown in the UK and Zimbabwe is lifted.

In a recent Facebook livestream with Pastor Matthew Murray, Chichi paid tribute to her mother, and assured people she is 'doing OK'.

'Obviously it's not going to get easier but at least now I know that my mum's not in pain and I can have some sort of humanity knowing that she's OK,' she said.

'She was always that person I could talk to and she was always that person who would play and be there for me and my brother and everyone. She had such a kind heart.'

Rutendo's funeral was held on a Monday, and her family said it broke their heart that they couldn't attend.

Pastor Matthew, who delivered a speech on Chichi's behalf to gathered churchgoers outside before initiating a clap in Rutendo's memory, said the young girl has been 'brave and amazing' throughout her ordeal.

Rumbidzai said they are planning for her ashes to be sent back to Zimbabwe, where they can have their own ceremony and say goodbye.

They are hopeful that Chichi will be able to fly out for this service so they can be all together as a family.

'We are taking everything one step at a time,' she added. 'It's tough but we have to soldier on.'

According to The Mirror, Ms Mukotsanjera was a public health official and had previously worked for the Infrastructure Bank in Zimbabwe.

Britain's black and minority ethnic communities appear to have been hardest hit by the virus sweeping the UK. Daily Mail


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