The woman who died in the company of a NetOne technician when the vehicle they were travelling in was washed off a bridge across the Runde River was buried on Thursday, 5 May, at Lawn Cemetery in Masvingo.
Loice Maradze (40) was in the company of Samson Zvarimwa, the NetOne technician who also died when the vehicle, which belonged to NetOne, drowned after it was washed off Chilonga River Bridge in Chiredzi on Saturday last week.
Maradze was allegedly involved in a romantic relationship with Zvarimwa, according to mourners who spoke to The Mirror at her funeral.
Her relatives collected the body from Chiredzi District Hospital after clearing with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Wednesday.
Maradze’s body was taken to her uncle’s place in Majange before it was ferried to Nyaradzo mortuary in Masvingo where it laid in state before burial on Thursday.
Maradze, who was a money changer at Pick n’ Pay in Masvingo, stayed with her three children, two girls and a boy, in Runyararo West suburb.
Reports suggest that Zvarimwa and Maradze left Masvingo on Friday afternoon for Chiredzi.
Zvarima was on a mission to deliver diesel to power generators at NetOne base stations (boosters) in Chilonga and other parts of Chiredzi.
The duo travelled to Chiredzi using the longer route through Mupapa Bridge which is safe from floods.
But on their return, they decided to use the shorter Chilonga Bridge route assuming that the water level at the bridge had subsided.
Their car, a Landrover was swept off the bridge around 9 AM on Saturday and efforts to retrieve the vehicle went on for two days.
On Monday, people from the community used a rope to pull the vehicle out of the water.
Maradze and Zvarimwa’s bodies were found trapped inside the vehicle. Zvarimwa was buried in Zaka on Wednesday.
Maradze’s friend, Abigail Moyo, who spoke at the graveside, failed to finish her speech as she broke down in tears. She said:
When Loice went to Chiredzi she bid me farewell. It never crossed my mind that this was the last time that I was talking to her.
I was shocked by the news of her death which reached me on Monday.
In 2022 alone, 10 people have died at Chilonga Bridge including several Government officials and a member of the Police Sub Aqua Unit.
Earlier this week, Chiredzi District Civil Protection Unit chair and district development coordinator Lovemore Chisema announced the temporary closure of the bridge.
He said that the bridge will only be reopened once it is deemed safe to cross after water levels go down.