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Obituary: A wintry winter


BY Munyaradzi Ziburawa
WHEN June beckoned, I never thought she would be such a callous wintry winter of my life. Never was I prepared that the second wintry night of June would claim the life of a beloved sister, the first born in a family of six, Martha Zivurawa, born ironically in the month of June in 1974 on the 24th day of the month. That she would succumb to death in her birth month was one of the mysteries or perhaps mere  coincidences  of life.

That one goes in the month they dominated when they made that triumphant first cry at   Morgenster Hospital in Masvingo was one of the ironies that only fate can account for.

Yes reader, my sister had been unwell for  some time, since perhaps 2008.Yet, her illness is just a footnote, she did a lot even if I were to just begin with 2008. She, in spite of her ill-health served family, friends and many countrymen and women as a dedicated nurse aide.

She was trained by Red Cross, not for the visa-convenience to go to the United Kingdom, but out of an inspired and identified passion to serve. Her guiding mantra was “Let the dry bones live again”.

Inspired by Ezekiel 37 verse 5, Martha served various patients with chronic conditions with love and passion. Many she served, may have never known that she was also battling a chronic condition.

She worked at Parirenyatwa Hospital, serving various home-bound patients in Harare and escorting them to various health service centres, including in India, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.

She was a woman of faith, she lived on faith, dangerous faith, I should say. She would have her lows but she would always rise up. Perhaps reader, I had become so used to her rising up again, that I never thought she would one day pass on. Indeed, even when I learnt on June 2, that she had developed multiple organ failure, I still had hope. My drive from Bulawayo to Harare on that fateful day was underpinned by the hope to see her alive at the Avenues Clinic — what misplaced hope? Martha chose to go close to midnight while I was somewhere between Bulawayo and Harare, Kwekwe to be precise. At five minutes to midnight, Martha gave in. A spiritual giant breathed her last and embraced the new world yonder. She had indeed fought a good fight, and ran her race well and kept the faith to the last.

Her last Whatsapp message to   the family group remained instructive — Glory to Jesus!

Indeed, a woman of faith is no more. What remains are the lessons and values that she imparted to the family and the footprints she left in the lives of those she served. The value of prayer, giving and sacrificing — lessons that you give not only money or what you have in excess but what you do not have in abundance.

We buried her on June 5,  in Matura Village, Gokwe — hundreds attended. Rest in Glory.

Moments after interring her, I got a call from journalist friend letting me know that another fine citizen and public intellectual Alex Magaisa was no more — what a wintry and callous June?

Magaisa, a distant yet close intellectual whom we used to have social and intellectual discourse with every Saturday through the Big Saturday Read. A fine intellectual gone too soon. Friends from near and far including Phillan Zamchiya, a revered academic and Beatrice Mtetwa a respected lawyer have done their best in the finite nature of words to describe the loss — yet still, no words can express the loss of one of the finest citizens of the motherland. May his soul rest in peace. Indeed, June has been a callous wintry winter.

  •  Munyaradzi Ziburawa is a programme officer at Helpage Zimbabwe

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