ALL I want is respect!
That was the cry of a village head from Gokwe who shocked mourners at a funeral when he jumped into an open grave claiming the deceased’s family did not respect him.
Michael Mufandarambwa from Madzivazvido village under Chief Madzivazvido vigorously fought with mourners as they tried to get him out of Richard Mahlathini’s grave.
“The men who had just finished digging Richard’s grave had a torrid time trying to get Mufandarambwa out. He jumped in and out of the grave three times. When he jumped in he would sit there and shout at us saying we should bury him instead of the deceased until we give him respect.
“We ended up calling the police to get him out,” said Mavis Mahlathini, the deceased’s sister.
The deceased’s mother, Gertrude Mahlathini gave this narration of the incident. “When my son died in a car accident I told people around the village and I thought word would reach Mufandarambwa.
“Mufandarambwa then came to the gravesite, I just thought he had come to comfort us. I didn’t suspect he was hatching a terrible plan,” said Gertrude.
Gertrude said what followed next had since been her worst nightmare.
“He jumped into my son’s grave and told us he would not get out until we give him proper respect as our village head. He demanded that we bury him instead of the deceased.
“He only got out after fellow villagers called the police to drag him out,” said Gertrude.
She further revealed that she suspected that Mufandarambwa put some juju in her son’s grave because since the burial she and her family had had sleepless nights as her son’s ghost was haunting them.
“Most times during the night I and my husband see a fire burning around my son’s grave. The other thing is that we usually feel there is someone inside the house with us as we always hear funny voices. We believe it is Richard’s ghost.
“This is all because of Mufandarambwa. I still do not understand how he could have the courage to get into my son’s grave. We are not even related so I do not know why he could have done such a thing,” she added.
Mufandarambwa confirmed that he did get in the grave because the Mahlathini family had disrespected him.
“Yes I jumped into the grave because I am the Village Head of Madzivazvido but this family doesn’t regard me as one. They did not tell me personally about the death of their son, I only heard rumours. I just wanted to be respected as their leader,” said Mufandarambwa.
However, Mufandarambwa denied allegations that Richard was now haunting the family because of him.
“I do not practise witchcraft, Richard’s family should consult traditional healers and find out if I am the one responsible for the haunting ghost,” he said.
Chief Felix Madzivazvido said Mufandarambwa had disregarded societal norms as his behaviour could be equated to witchcraft.
“Mufandarambwa humiliated us and because of that we told him to pay four cows for his behaviour but we subtracted three because he asked for forgiveness. We have since suspended him from his position,” said Chief Madzivazvido.