Drama at Chiwoniso funeral

DRAMA and speculation surrounds the death of Mbira Queen Chiwoniso Maraire as mourners were not allowed to view her body upon arrival at her rural home in Chakohwa Village, Chimanimani, on Sunday night before her burial yesterday.

Report by Entertainment Reporters

Chiwoniso Mararire funeral
Chiwoniso Mararire funeral

Before leaving Harare, her corpse was also denied entry into the Bluffhill family home before leaving for Chakohwa Village.

The body arrived in a hearse at Chakohwa at 2340hrs, but her casket remained in the vehicle. Village headman Noel Mutidzawanda announced that there would be no body viewing as instructed by officials from a funeral parlour that dressed the corpse.

“We were told not to open the casket because the disease that claimed her life is highly contagious,” Chiwoniso’s uncle Tennyson Maraire said.

Digging of her grave started at around 9 am yesterday with family members remaining tight lipped about this development save for speculation that there were family squabbles.

Apart from the drama, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara applauded artistes for giving Maraire a big sendoff, describing her as someone who had brought culture and tradition onto the international scene using the Mbira instrument.

“I am here as son of Chief Mutambara as well as representing the government although it expires today (yesterday). When someone dies, as much as we mourn, we should learn something from each and every funeral,” he said.

He said American born Chiwoniso chose to live in Africa and popularised the mbira.

Mutambara added that Chiwoniso had left a legacy, a cultural ambassador that had also chipped in to raise funds for the University of Zimbabwe recently.

“We must be united as a country and Chiwoniso was a unifier of people through her performances in cultural activities,” Mutambara said.

Mourners included various artistes, music promoters and journalists, but notably pastor Charles Charamba, Dudu Manhenga, Mathias Bangure, Rutendo Machiridza, Thomas Brickhill, Hifa Artistic Director, Gavin Peter and National Arts Council Deputy Director, Nicholas Moyo and many others.

Chiwoniso was buried next to her father, the late mbira player and teacher, Dumisani Maraire.

Her daughters Chengeto and Chiedza Brown, and half-sister Ammara Brown, gave an emotional jam session as they sang songs composed by both Andy Brown and Chiwoniso Maraire on Sunday night. Ammara’s mother died a few months before Brown passed on in March last year.

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  1. Inga zvakaoma no body view

  2. ‘a highly contagious disease that claimed her’, why didn’t the same disease claim the parlour workers. Aidya ega saka rese igodo iri coz hapana hama yamboti aishandidzana nedzimwe hama ndopane yese. I believe she never contributed anything to the family thus a burial similar to dumping. A western culture that destroyed her Ubuntu. Maonero angu

    1. mm rhodes??? Usadaro shamwari, i think she was too thin and they thought people would conclude otherwise

  3. we all know that Chiwoniso died from HIV/AIDS.

    If you are a public figure you cant escape the microscope. Your health is our health, our concern.

    Kana wafa neAIDS, wafa neAIDS.

    AIDS does not discriminate and lets not try to hush hush it.

    Her ex-husband Andy died last year. He had 10 children with 7 different women how is that not irresponsible sexual behaviuor! He was sick and Chiwoniso too was sick!

    Who has ever died of lung-infection at 37 years unless they are HIC positive? Unheard of in this day and age.

    Lets tell it as it is AIDS is here and it kills and unfortunately Chiwoniso was a victim.

    So please pple get screened to check your status coz if you are positive no need to deny it but start taking ARVs today….Otherwise we are all R.I.P walking

    1. I’m pretty sure you aren’t Chiwoniso’s doctor or pathologist..Just hush, ziva zvekwawaswera.

      1. Though it’s true that she was positive, I am surprised that she died of a curable infection. We now have ARVs wani, what happened? I am told she was not taking them at all and she was heavy on drugs.

        PachiNdau munhu ane hunhu hwakaipa anofungirwa kuti mweya wake uno namira vamwe akaitwa body viewing. She was considered a rebel in her family and had no morals so they did not want to receive her spirit in the family that’s all. Nothing to do with money or anything.

        1. You know nothing Unless you truly know

          Did she share her status with you? Unless she did, you are as clueless as the rest of the shallow people who are quick to conclude that every death is HIV/AIDS related. Brain still stuck in the 90s?

          Only her pathologist and doctor truly know.

        2. Neni ndiri muNdau. Atiradzi munhu pabanze- wakambozvizwepi? Who appointed you to be the moral policeman anyway? Kana mbavha chaiyo yanyafa amuiki zvakanaka here kuitira chamangwani? Eya maNdau tinobhuya mumuchohwe kuti yaiye mbavha asi tinounze mumbatso toika. After all, Chiwoniso was not Ndau asi muzukuru weGarwe.

          People might not have approved of her lifestle but many have a lifestyle that we may not approve of asi vafa ativabati kunge imbwa. Munopera ngepfukwa ndizvo zvekude kudziita vanatinoziya muchiangarara kudai – kuradzike mutumbi pabanze.

      2. taura hako matters of health are a private matter so who is this idiot(im sory to use the word) to disclose Chionisos’s cause of death

    2. I SAW HER PERFORM at HIFA, AND SHE ALSOJOINED BAABA from senegalon the stage . i was greeted her and had a small chat, it can be AIDS BUT SHE WASNT THIN.

    3. HIC positive?? Inga zwakahoma.

  4. e-eeee Inga zvakatooma.

    1. Shuwa zvakaoma

  5. Shuwa zvakaoma

  6. Shuwa wafa wanaka…all this speculation and judgement over Chiwoniso will not change a thing. Hazvina basa kuti wakaurawa neyi mwana wamai. It will never take away the great legacy that you left behind. Munhu wese achafa chete, whether neAIDS, Cancer kana kuhope- kufa kufa!
    What is important is how we spend this borrowed time we have on earth. As far as I’m concerned, Chiwoniso left her mark, inspired people, united people and a lot more positive things. She was not perfect- just like any other human being- none is perfect. She will however most certainly be rememberd with fond beautiful memories. R.I.P. Chiwoniso.

  7. munhu akafa neaids nembanje

  8. Ubuntu culture says, who ever took away her/him life should be taken straight to the grave side and should not be bodyviewed or taken into a house…

    1. Sure zvako iwe munhu aita suicide ndiye anoita zvakaitwa Chioniso maybe lung infection was a result of suicide.

  9. Chiwoniso lived a reckless life, we all know that. Anga asina chinhu, aingonyengesa kumunhu wesewese

    1. musadaro veduwe. Don’t be too judgemental. Inga vakuru vakati wafa Wanaka wani.

  10. MAI FAMBAI ZVAKANAKA ! you were a star who unwittingly became a victim of circumstances. Most of these thankless individuals spewing junk hereon are nonentities who have done nothing in this world

  11. Dai iri nyaya yeDISEASE dai vakaita Creamation….but vanga vasingamude

  12. RIP Chi. Some will die unnoticed. You were great. The talking and the talkers will die also but your music will live forever

  13. Saka drama racho riri papi apa??? Kusaitwa kwe body viewing kunotyisa chii apa, zvinoonekwa izvo. Not a drama. Ma reporter ndimi makutonyora a different story from what exactly happened.

  14. the only amusing fact is,
    its just gossip ,she was buried alone, along with her life .i think anything else is not important except to say ,R.I.P

  15. From these comments and stories we conclude the on the challenges of being born in America, moving to Zim, getting married to a coloured musician, being a successful dedicated artist, fitting into a drug culture, relating to family and the end afterwards. African culture versus a 21st century world.

  16. She died in hospital. If there was anything like a contagious disease the department of health would have conducted the burial, not a mere funeral parlor.

  17. It happens but hey she is buried dead and gone, those who refused to give her a better send off will still join her anyway. There are some personal issues which should not be taken to serious at funerals. Why refuse her casket in the home? So she was not part of them, good for them but that was very unGodly and they will live to regret that.

  18. Kana munhu afa ne AIDS afa ne AIDS. We do not need to be her doctors to deduce that. Even an illiterate person can come to such a conclusion. Andy Brown dies of “lung infection”. His other woman dies a few months later, presumably, of “lung infection”. And Chiwoniso dies the following year, also of “lung infection”. Give us a break!

  19. she lived her life – live her alone you haters

  20. To all the haters say what you may, she was a great musician and one of zim’s finest no doubt. RIP sis

  21. Chikukwa Raphael

    Famba hako zvakanaka sahwira watungamira kufa ndokwe munhu wose, kunesu tasara chijanha ndechedu kune ramangwana, kune avo vano sekeka aiwa zivo rinemi. Isu madzi sahwira vake, tasurukirwa chose nekuti mimhanzi yake yaitipa manyemwe uye icharamba ichitipa manyemwe, aya mazwi a Samanyanga zana Re Gorekore anoita kuti is madzisahwira a Chii tinyaradzwe. kune Mhuri yekwa Maraire nepwere dzasara aiwa tinochema nemi.

  22. ummmh zvakaoma

  23. anhu ekwamaraire matinyadzisa

  24. Positive Thinking

    Fear of the dead makes people fail to say the truth about the life of the deceased. The bible says, the living know that they will die, but as for the dead they know nothing, their love and hatred is all gone. So until people understand this, such things will always happen. So for us the living, get tested today, ziva pawumire, coz it might catch up with u unawares. I am happy i decided to get real. For Chiwoniso, its all about legacy.

  25. What is all this beef ine basa rei body viewing vaida kumudya here

  26. Imi vanhu siyanayi naye who are u to tell her how she should have lived,,hee she was reckless,,this & that,,imi ndimi ma saints live her alone. myself believe everyone has every right 2 live life e way they want to…who are u to judge & which benchmark are u using

  27. Chinjani Tapera

    Its very unfortunate kuti zvatinopedzera nguva dai chiwoniso aikwanisa kutiudzao nezvaakatarisana nazvo ….pamwe aiti aleter wo ,,,asi zvakutoda njere dzedu ..we are just human usanyanyotaura zvemumwe

  28. kana ukatesta haufi here?

  29. Rest In Peace Chi You’ve Left Your Leagacy We Shall Cherish Those Memories

  30. Mntwana oyintombi kuthwa isotsha lifela ebusotsheni balo,bangakhuluma bapopote kodwa usebenzile ezweni. Lala ngokuthula.Ilizwe lethu lehlula okhokho. Abakwenu bakwenze bele sizatho lokhu abakwenze kuwe Chiwoniso,lala ngokuthula.Thina abokuza who are we to judge you and your family?

  31. Inuf is inuf

  32. I wish some of these rumour mongers and evil people could live Chiwoniso alone. Whether she died of AIDS or not is beside the point and who are we to judge?. How may of you are livjng with HIV right now and do not have the courage to get tested, to disclose or to seek medical help. Its not a crime to be a public figure and we must respect Chioniso and her family. The majority of us have HIV and are spreading it like wildfire. Please let Chioniso resit in Peace, she was a great musician and I will always love her music and remember her . We love you Chii and your music will live on.

  33. Zvakaoma mogoti Aids Aids hamuzive here kuti hazvitaurwe stil remember paakauya kushowground nana sulu jar praizer naedith weutonga

  34. celebrites pliz be organized, as long as you are celeb ,we are always following you behind. rongera upenyu hwako, kwete kukanganwa hama, dai akapiwa stand ku epworth, angadai akaiswa wo mumba. sorry hako , but rest in peace

  35. Nhlanhla Sibanda

    Very possible she had untreated TB which is very contageous. Body viewing not recommended under such circumstances. Hate to judge but her marriage to Andy Brown was just a waste. She could have settled for better. RIP

  36. RIP Chiwoniso

  37. Famba zvakanaka gwenyambira. Pako wapedza,zvasarire isu vapenyu.

  38. RIP Chii

  39. live fast die young BAD galz do it well…..(singin)

  40. zvirwere izvi inga zvakaoma

  41. Extra Kwazvose

    Kusvika rinhi tichivanza hurwere hwauraya munhu? There is nothing to be ashamed of. Aids is Aids and we all know that its there and its killing people. Whatever killed her, may her dear soul rest in peace

  42. Sad indeed whatever the cause of death, her legacy leaves on, she was a star, a talented musician. Yes, no one is perfect we all have our weaknesses, lucky that we all don’t get under public scrutiny as she was, may be some of her critics could have been saying “she was better than others”. Rest In Peace Chi.


    Why were they reluctant to divulge the nature of the disease? I feel pity for the kids, they lost both of their parents. If the disease is highly contagious, it means even the musical instruments she used must be destroyed, same applies to clothes she wore, kitchen utensils etc


    @ Die Hard, i do agree, if you live life fast you die young. What i discovered is that, musicians, long distance truck drivers, cross border traders, journalists and politicians are largely killed by AIDS than anyone else.

  45. May her soul rest in eternal peace

  46. Mashaya nyaya here, nxaaaaaa. Pane asingade zvinhu here. Muti mwiii mese.

  47. Panongofa munhu chete panotaurika.Zorora murugare mbira queen.

  48. i think kuti akauraiwa nembira ne hosho !!!!!!

  49. huya babe

  50. Rest in peace

  51. this young talent used to ignore her roots.Only to discover now that she came from our district.

    1. She was born in America. Food for thought.

  52. Who said she had AIDS? Even its true whats new about it.

  53. She was a heroine! Nothing less than a true daughter of the soil!!! She might hv had her shortcomings but her name is synonymous with Zimbabwean music- that is the only thing that matters… ((because sometimes the whole truth is not good enough, sometimes the youth deserve more, sometimes they deserve an icon to inspire them, sometimes they deserve to have their faith rewarded… They need to believe they too can become great.))


  55. Who are u to judge my people.wtevr it was God knows better than us.RIP

  56. was there Chiwoniso’s body in the coffin??? pane maths dziripo.

    1. Conspiracy theories dzotongaka. So many African funerals ane too much teki teki – kuramba kuvigana, kurambirana chitunha etc. Ah, hameno

  57. Toda Chokwadi

    I feel sorry for you guys protecting immoral behaviour especially by celebs/ role models. If only you knew how celebs shape character of our youth you would think twice before vindicating loose morals. If you are a public figure you are prone to public scrutiny. Lastly AIDS is a disease just like lung whatever. If its AIDS let it be said so thats the only way to remove the stigma anyway.

  58. Rest in peace Chii u did a great job and nobody will take that away from you . Your work will keep shining but the haters will stop talking . We just gotta pretend it never happened , Amai fambai zvakanaka tichazomuonai . Rest In Peace my shining STAR.

  59. aaaaah yaaaaah…. munhu?

  60. Guys these days hapana chekubatana kumeso munhu akafa nemukondombera, ngazvitaurwe vanhu voziva nekudzidza .

  61. was it too difficult for some of you lot t just appreciate for what she did for Zimbabwe??? She put us on the map! Family politics is none of your damn business!
    Focus on how she affected you positively not what went on in the privacy of her own home!!!!

    Guess hate and jealousy are what some of you are about. Rest in God’s eternal peace Chii x

    1. If she had AIDS, which has clearly she did, as did Andy Brown and his other former wife, why LIE? The stigma will never be reduced when people like you claim it’s jealousy and hate to just speak the truth. A lot can be done for awareness of HIV/AIDS if people can admit that she died from this disease and most likely contracted it from her ex-husband, who also died from it.
      I have no hate whatsoever for this woman.

  62. Mai fambai zvakanaka,mai tichazomuona……Um surprised @ how pple still have stigma agaist pple living and dying of HIV and AiDs.Pachokwadi hapana kufa kurinani,kufa kufa,asi zvatasiirwa nemufi ndozvatinokohwa nekudzidza pane remangwana,So pple I urge u to respect the dead toisa pamwe fo fight agaisnt zvirwere izvi zvatipedza

  63. Chii did a very lovable job un her lifetime. Chitsidzo vanhu vaMwari. To those musicians who have stayed, siyau zvinodhaka nehufeve. Raramai zvakanaka. Even vebhora nevane mazita nekuti vanhu havanyarare.

  64. My heart goes to the kids may GOD shield&cover you, may he wipe away your tears. To the Maraire family thank you for showing your true colours but you know what you will all go down to the world of the dead. Surely if you knew she was not to enter the House why didn’t you leave her body@the funeral parlour? RIP in peace Chi i remember your walks in Campbeltown reading your novel which i used to think was very eccentric.

  65. Mwari Pindirai

    Does anyone know if there was a body viewing at the funeral parlour because the media did say there would be a public body viewing and service at the funeral parlour on the Sunday at 0900hours???

  66. Makuda body view but some of you never bothered to attend her shows to see her live

  67. Makuda body view but some of you never bothered to attend her shows to see her live.RIP Chi

  68. We will miss you a lot. i hope i will meet her in Haven

  69. Guys let bygones be bygones.aids or no aids guys this is e 21st century where most of us ar Christians.e bible says let’s not dwell on e past but give focus for future.let’s pray coz solutions ar coming 4 cure of aids.ndiani aitarisira maARVs panguva ino.most of you ar living positilely taking e drug.don’t be so optimistic of wat other pppl ar doing.ko iwe zvaunoseka urema hwangu watadza nei kuhwugadzirisa.usaone chimuti chiri muziso remumwe mako muine danda.hakuna kusina makuva eAids

  70. RIP Sister Chi. But guys lets discuss it wafa wanaka but ngatigadzisirane isu vapenyu lets take a leaf from the mbira queen’s life. Lets condomise, get tested and take our ARV’s on time. Sister Chi was a drug addict no denying i used to attend her shows ziso rainge rakatsvuka nembanje!!!!! Vaye vasinga koshese hunhu hwavo dzidzai kubva ipapa

  71. Huh, makuti femba manje. Matadza kuvhota makungo rarata zvisina basa

  72. maone…

  73. Mwari pakasika munhu,munhu akabva muguruva achadzokerazve muguruva.truely let me tell this munhu wese ane mafiro ake akasiyana ne angana.who are u to say uyu munhu uyu afa nechino uyu achiti nechino.Mwari ndiyeanoziwa matorero aanoita munhu even you kana nguva yako yakwana anythin happen to u.so don’t say those badz words kusvibisa munhu lyk that.Kana zvirizvo zvakatora mumwe vedu ,vakuru vakati seka urema vafa.shoko raMwari rinoti chema ne anochema fara neanofara.saka imi vanhu murikutaura murikuchema here kana kuti muri kuseka.God catch u one day.am realy sorry to Chiwoniso famba murugare.imi vana masara amai venyu vaizikanwa itaiwo mukurumbira lyk her!

  74. So sad….. And disturbing

  75. Chiwoniso died of HIV. I remember her when she came to Africa university in Mutare. She was heavily drugged and gagging for a cock.

  76. Wat is so new bout death? once ya dead ya gone. keep talking, aint nobody resurrecting here.

  77. rest in peace ssta chiwo no one 100 percent perfect your music lives on.

  78. U ppc u shud hev just shut up n live e late chwoniso alone nyarara

  79. Chiwo naAndy Brown had a chemistry yandakaoona pandakaenda navo to one of their shows. Chiwo started humming a tune and Andy got in it was really amazing leave the fact that mbanje yasiirohwa zvebasa and ZRP were in the next room waiting for the show to start

    Chero chiri chii chakutora muiimbi nagwenyambira ndinoti famba zvakanaka shasha Rest In the Eternal house of God!

  80. Here is some perspective for all of you: I am an American who used to live in Seattle where Dumi and Maichi lived and taught. This was in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, I think. Chi’s mother taught our women’s group drumming. Chi was two years old. She was a beautiful full-of-life headstrong little kid, always running around. I loved her. Years later I ran into Dumi who spoke lovingly of doing a recording which included his young daughter Chi’s musical ideas. That impressed me. Then later, I was thrilled indeed to hear that Chiwoniso had become a musician in her own right…..Maybe the little Chi I was blessed to know is an indication of her true inner spirit. I write this now, at this late date, because I’ve just learned of her death…….Maichi was also always loving and warm with our drumming group, and reached out and shared her Shona culture with us, to a degree that gratified and amazed me. Chiwoniso’s whole family changed my life. The music I learned, chants and drumming, opened a whole world to me. This music was shared with many Seattle residents even though, at that time, terrible things were happening for the Maraire’s and everyone else, at home in Zimbabwe…..Also Laura Chiora was very sharing and giving with her music.

  81. Its just in recent months that I became aware of Chiwoniso, when i saw her performing with Chris Kirstoferson, the video must have ben done some 5 + years back ( the circle of darkness ) she was totally mesmerizing when she accompanied Chris, her voice , her body language, her face, told me all I needed to know about a wonderful singer, and she respected Chris ( one of my heroes ) I had to check her out on Google, it’s too bad that so many people put her down because of her ailments. RIP Chiwoniso, I loved your beautiful voice.

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