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Mapositori turn 40 bodies into sweet potato manure

More than 40 undocumented burials in Zimbabwe were turned into sweet potato and tomato beds, according to a report.

Apostolic communities reportedly dug the graves, and the revelation came after Mashonaland West medical director, Dr Celestino Dhege, presented a report on burials during a provincial heads meeting held in Chinhoyi.

The report has sparked questions and controversy over the handling of deaths and the implications for public health and cultural practices.

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Over 40 secret burials were conducted in Hurungwe District.

This has been happening in Maronda/Mangate, Shumba, Village 5, Chakaraya and Dzokamushure Villages.

The report says villagers have been seeing vegetable gardens and beds sprouting each morning unaware that underneath the fertile soils lies a dead child denied medical attention. Said Dhege (via The Herald):

We are told that over 40 secret burials were conducted in the Hurungwe area, where parents would then plant sweet potatoes and tomatoes on top to conceal evidence of their bad acts. Investigations are ongoing and we will get to the bottom of this.

As a province, we are working towards giving the communities knowledge regarding the dangers of various diseases that the nation faces.

My office was briefed by health officials that in the Hurungwe area, where these deaths and secret burials occurred, there was an outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases, mumps and measles.

Dr Dhege added that a household in Ward 22 had lost children aged 12, nine, seven, three, one and half years within a short space of time.

He called on lawmakers to enact laws that protect children from parents who shun modern medicine amid revelations that many were succumbing to measles, cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.

Wards 4 and 22 of Hurungwe Rural District Council were the most affected by cases of mumps and measles.

Dr Dhege said it was high time punitive measures were put to deter would-be offenders to protect the children. He said:

On a sad note, apostolic (Marange) communities hide these incidents.

Where we have outbreaks like cholera and measles, some apostolic members bury their children at night after denying them access to medical care.

To conceal the horrendous act, they plant sweet potatoes on top of the graves.

To them, the death of a child is not as significant as we think. They believe children are like bricks, more will be moulded.

A 23-year-old mother, Tariro Gambe, was recently divorced by her husband, disowned by her parents and de-churched by the sect after she sought medical attention following the death of her nine-year-old child in March this year.

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