Chivero disaster victims buried

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A dark cloud hung over the Chisvo homestead in Domboshava, some 32km from Harare, as the Ruzvidzo family, torn apart by grief, buried four children who died in the Lake Chivero tragedy on Christmas Day.

Tanaka Ruzvidzo (10), Tatenda Ruzvidzo (6), Sharon Ruzvidzo and Angeline Kasito (16) were buried side-by side at the family graveyard.

The burial came as police arrested the owner of the boat that capsized killing 11 children at Lake Chivero on Christmas Day.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau confirmed the arrest: “We have so far arrested the owner of the boat, but his name will only be released tomorrow.

He is in custody and is currently helping the police with investigations.”

Their heartbroken grandmother, Bertha Chisvo, could not hide her pain.
“It’s painful. We went to the lake the following morning (Monday) and got there around 6 o’clock in the morning, but the children’s bodies had not yet been pulled out of the water. We waited there until around 11 o’clock when the sub-aqua unit divers came,” she said.

Bernard Ruzvidzo, the children’s uncle, said what was supposed to be a happy Christmas outing ended in tragedy.

“When the children asked to go for a boat ride, we didn’t know it was going to end like this. The younger boy, Tatenda, wanted to swim but we said he couldn’t swim in the lake. He then asked to go for a boat ride and that was how the idea came about,” he said.

Tatenda and Tanaka were the only children of Douglas Ruzvidzo, who also lost his sister-in-law, Nunurai Chitungo (16) in the tragedy.

Some of the children who survived, Shanice Ruzvidzo (14) and Esther Muronzi (16) said when the boat capsized, the driver and his assistant told them that they were all going to die.

“The captain, a coloured guy, said ‘you must kiss your lives goodbye because you are all going to die’,” said Shanice. “Then the driver also said ‘I am going to save my own life’ and got out of the boat.”

Safari operators told NewsDay several illegal boat operators had invaded Lake Chivero shoreline, and were reporting brisk business as swarms of visitors keen to enjoy themselves pay for their service oblivious of the dangers of boat cruising.

“There are a number of individuals who are on this lake who are operating illegally and most of them are not trained.

They only want to make profits out of illegal business forgetting to abide by the National Parks laws,” a safari operator, Gary Stafford said.

Meanwhile, the holiday death toll has risen to 76 since the festive season began.