Villagers attack journalists at funeral


Chiweshe villagers yesterday ran amok to attack journalists from NewsDay and The Herald who were covering the funeral of 21-year old student who died on Monday after succumbing to an HIV-related illness following alleged abuse by his aunt since he was 12.
The boy is said to have made the confession in hospital shortly before he died. Hospital sources confirmed Joseph’s confession but could not be drawn into giving more details.
The late Joseph Chiwawa was a Form Four student at Nzvimbo Secondary School in Maponga Village Chiweshe. Circumstances surrounding his death have left tongues wagging in the village.
The burial of the young man yesterday was not short of drama as journalists were attacked by family members at the funeral. They did not want the boy’s confession reported in the media.
The boy’s aunt and his two sons who led the attack on the journalists were arrested after the burial.
Herald photographer Regis Nyandima was severely beaten. Cameras belonging to both news crews were briefly confiscated by youths at the funeral.
Angered by the sight of journalists covering the story, youths at the funeral attacked the reporters who had to run for their lives.
The media crew reported the matter at the nearby Chombira Police Post and the deceased boy’s aunt, Barbara Chawawa (43) and her two sons, Tawanda and Taurai Chogugudza, were arrested.
They are expected to appear in court tomorrow.
Maponga village, where the funeral took place, was awash with the story of the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death – the alleged sexual abuse by his aunt.
In her graveside speech however, the aunt described Joseph as a “disciplined boy who was God-fearing and obedient”. She even broke down in tears during her eulogy.
The atmosphere at the homestead was tense and students from Nzvimbo Secondary School appeared depressed by the death of their colleague. Unlike the agitated village youths, elder family members cooperated with journalists and had promised to divulge more information before the youths turned rowdy.