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Man hated even beyond the grave

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2023 at 04:56hrs | Views
Throughout the world and within Zimbabwean culture, there is a prevailing respect for the deceased, often resulting in their negative actions being forgotten and overlooked in public discourse. The Shona people even have a saying, "wafawanaka," which loosely translates to the idea that the evil deeds of a person should be ignored after their passing.

Funeral eulogies and graveside speeches deliberately omit any negative aspects of the deceased's life, instead focusing on praising their positive qualities. These good deeds are emphasized to evoke empathy and are frequently reiterated.

However, for one Beitbridge man named William, affectionately known as MaWidzo, his death was met with a different response. Residents described his passing as a welcome relief. He passed away alone in Masvingo General Hospital, far from Beitbridge, where he was known for his seemingly malevolent life. There was no funeral wake in his last place of residence, and his relatives were hesitant to associate themselves with his remains.

People did not inquire about where mourners were gathering. Many celebrated his passing, as he was notorious for his criminal activities, including the rape of men and women and violent robberies in Beitbridge and Musina.

MaWidzo was frequently discussed on various social media groups in Beitbridge, and the comments consistently condemned his actions and how he treated fellow residents whom he often robbed. One of his most infamous stories involved him finding his girlfriend, a commercial sex worker, with someone else and subsequently raping both of them.

A Beitbridge resident who knew him well commented, "That was MaWidzo for you, a larger than life character. He was rough to the core and a hard criminal who never repented. He operated between Musina and Beitbridge and his diminutive stature was deceptive. Inside that small stature was a hardened man, crude and as rude as they come. He was central to most robberies in Musina and the areas around Beitbridge."

Born and raised in Masvingo, MaWidzo later moved to Beitbridge, where he joined other pickpockets who targeted unsuspecting travelers at the border post. Despite spending time in prison for his offenses, his lifestyle did not change for the better.

Inept security at the border post, along with collusion from unscrupulous officials, allowed him and his associates to make a significant amount of money by preying on travelers. He later relocated to Musina, South Africa, where his actions led to the harassment and robbery of fellow Zimbabweans. He eventually returned to Beitbridge but fell out with his live-in lover after he raped her daughter.

Considered a wanted man in Musina, MaWidzo was rejected by his relatives in his hometown of Masvingo and abandoned in a hospital to die alone. Even in death, his relatives were reluctant to accept his remains into their homes. It took his younger brother, who came from South Africa, to persuade his relatives to bury him.

He was laid to rest in a mission cemetery, not in his hometown, as his relatives believed that the spirits of those he had wronged should not follow him to their home. The mixed feelings surrounding his posthumous treatment created a buzz in Beitbridge, but, overall, he was condemned even in death.

In 2019, chaos erupted at the Beitbridge Border Post when a mob of cross-border drivers attempted to burn a vehicle carrying the body of a gang leader accused of terrorizing them in Musina. Border authorities had to call anti-riot police to quell the situation when people tried to desecrate the remains of the gang leader being transported for burial.

Source - newsday
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