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Mbuya Stella Chiweshe Casket Destroyed, Buried In Rukukwe (Reed Mat)

Mbuya Stella Chiweshe, the MBIRA queen, was buried yesterday in Nekati Village in Bindura under the leadership of Chief Masembura.

Mbuya Chiweshe, 76, passed away from a brain tumour on Friday of last week in Harare.

Additionally, her request to be buried in accordance with her customs was honoured.

Her body was transported to Nekati village in an elegant coffin provided by Nyaradzo, but before being buried, her body was taken out and wrapped with a reed mat (rukukwe) and cloth.

The family claimed she did this because she wanted to communicate with her ancestors’ spirits quickly.

The family claimed they were merely doing as she told them.

The graveyard was off-limits to the media.

Additionally, only traditional music was performed at the funeral wake, as she had asked during her lifetime.

Mbuya Chiweshe reportedly gave the family the order not to play any gospel music at her burial before she passed away.

Neither a gospel song nor a sermon from the Bible were delivered at her funeral or burial. Everything was done according to African custom.

Maidei Charity Mapuranga, Mbuya Chiweshe’s eldest daughter, addressed the mourners at the funeral and praised her late mother as a real fighter.

“I am the firstborn to the late Mbuya Chiweshe. By the way, Chiweshe was not her surname, but a totem she adopted as a stage name. She lost her husband when we least expected it,” she said.

She became popular with her totem rather than her real surname.

“Chiweshe is not my mother’s surname but her totem. Her real name on national documents is Stella Nekati.”

Maidei said they tried their best as a family to save Mbuya Chiweshe.

“We took her to one of the best hospitals in the world, but the cancer was detected late.

“She was a brave woman who showed no signs of sickness. She didn’t suffer from memory loss and we are devastated to have lost our mother,” she said.

A number of mbira artists performed at Mbuya Chiweshe’s homestead on Monday night and yesterday.

These comprise Vee Mhofu and Dzivarembira who honoured Mbuya Chiweshe with song and dance. Energetic performer, Kessia Magosha, also put up a vintage performance.

Sasha Amadhuve, Ammi Jamanda, Lioness, Mama Rachie, Wilfred “Nyamasvisva” MaAfrika and a number of traditional dancers from Mufakose also performed.

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, her deputy Tino Machakaire, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe representatives, villagers and other artists attended the burial.

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