A family in Chirangano Village in Mazetese communal lands in Mwenezi District In Masvingo province spent 5 days with the decomposing corpse of their daughter in law after her relatives refused to bury her because they had not paid lobola for her, The Herald reports.
Tendai Gwehama died on Friday and her relatives refused to bury her and demanded 4 beasts and R3000 from her husband Godfrey Hove as punishment for not paying lobola for her. Tendai’s decomposing body was in her kitchen for the duration of the dispute.
The incident was confirmed by Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Charity Mazula who said they had to intervene for Gwehama to be buried:
We intervened and the deceased who passed on last Friday was finally buried today (Tuesday). Gwehama’s relatives risked being charged with extortion and violating a dead body. We want to warn the public that actions like this will see them being charged. Whenever there are such disputes, the deceased person(s) should be buried first and then the families can discuss their issues thereafter
The husband of the deceased Godfrey Hove spoke to the publication and revealed that Gwehama’s family left after making the place where she was supposed to be buried:
I tried to engage my in-laws to no avail as they were adamant that they wanted me to pay lobola before they could bury my wife. They took away three goats, a cow and an ox-drawn plough and left after only marking the grave where my wife was supposed to be interred. They then left saying we should complete the rest of the rituals on our own, but we could not bury the body in the absence of close relatives.
According to the Shona tradition, the deceased’s blood relative is supposed to mark the site where people will dig the grave where the deceased will be buried.
More: The Herald