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Dead man (24) turns up 'awake' for his own funeral

by Staff reporter
18 December 2011 | 2144 Views
Shelton Chitima is welcomed back by his grandmother Rita Chiradza after his supposed death
A Mashonaland East Man (24), Shelton Chitima from Musami Village got a rare front-row seat at his  own "funeral wake".

His family arranged a funeral following reports he had been shot dead while panning at the Chiadzwa diamond fields. Mourners received the shock of their lives when the "dead panner" turned up for his own funeral a week later.

"When I arrived at the village, the yard was filled with people. Indeed, they had come in their numbers for my funeral. Some pointed at me and whispered to each other. They doubted whether I was the one; but, of course, it was me!" he said.
"There was not much wailing because I think people had become weary after a whole week of mourning. I did not know people cared about me so much."

Chitima ventured to the rich fields of Manicaland in search of diamonds earlier this year. He travelled alongside his friend, Patrick.
His grandmother, Mrs Rita Chiradza, with whom he lived, awaited his return. He left his cellular phone behind, anticipating to buy a new once proceeds from his envisaged diamond sales came through.
"I cut all communication with my grandmother and other relatives because I wanted to surprise them with goodies when I returned," he said.

"I only managed to talk to my uncle, Mr George Chiradza, four months later. Everything was well; there was no problem."
At least Patrick communicated with the family regularly.
Work at the fields deep in the night was tiring.  Chitima was at the local Nyanyadzi Rural Business Centre sometime last month when some startling news filtered through.

"I spent the afternoon at Nyanyadzi with fellow diamond panners. I saw Patrick and some boys pointing at me from a distance as they gasped for breath.
"I asked them what was happening. They said they had found me. We went to a vehicle. I was alarmed to see my aunts and uncles. They hugged me. In the meantime, I was confused.
"Initially, I did not want to return home, but my aunt who had just arrived from Zambia insisted people at home needed to see me to be sure I was alive.

"Along the way we did not talk much, though."
The entire episode appeared a joke to him. The solemn atmosphere at the village was, however, enough to sober him.
A coffin had already been purchased. Mourners were gathered. Tears almost trickled down his cheeks.

Mrs Chiradza said her heart would not accept her grandson had died.
"On that fateful night, I was sleeping when the headman and his wife, who are our relatives, came here. They said someone had telephoned them, informing them that Shelton had been shot in Chiadzwa," she said.

"They never disclosed who the caller was. I told them I would not mourn without knowing what had happened to my grandson. The message was then spread throughout the village and even fellow parishioners at his church came.
"It was at that time that his brothers also came with a coffin."

Mrs Chiradza's sister arrived from Zambia. She was determined to collect the corpse from Chiadzwa.
"We contributed some money and she left for Mutare. Visits to mortuaries there proved fruitless. They said no one had been shot. She then got in touch with Patrick and made efforts to go to the mining area," Mrs Chiradza said.




"Patrick helped her locate him. Meanwhile, my mind wandered. He arrived at the homestead. I felt weak in the knees. It was painful. I had to hug him and ask many questions. I was overjoyed."
Chitima feels his death is imminent given the harrowing experience.

"I used to think about it when it happened. I think people would have run away thinking I was a ghost if I had come during the night. But I also sometimes think my death is drawing closer. I regret ever cutting communication with my family. This is what sparked speculation in the first place."
Chitima's coffin has since been sold. He has no plans of living his grandmother soon

Mashonaland funeral

Source: Sunday News

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