Mkhululi Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
THE family of a 15-year-old Nkayi girl in Matabeleland North province who was stabbed to death allegedly during a fight over a boyfriend buried their daughter with the knife used in the murder case lodged in her body, sending shivers across the community.
The family has since demanded 15 cattle from the families of the two accused girls, the one who supplied the knife and the one who delivered the fatal blow.
Buhlebenkosi Moyo died on 28 October after a fight which police say was over a boyfriend but the families disputed that and said it was over books.
She was buried last Wednesday in the absence of the two accused girl’s families who snubbed the ceremony.
The Moyo family says body viewing had to be scrapped as her body was at an advanced state of decomposition. Investigations by Sunday News have revealed that although the body of Buhlebenkosi was transported all the way from Nkayi to Bulawayo for postmortem, it was never done.
Sunday News visited the family homestead on Thursday and found the girl’s father away as he was said to have accompanied the late girl`s mother to her family homestead.
Buhlebenkosi`s mother who is based in South Africa had come to the country for the funeral. From the family and community members’ account, events leading to the death of the girl and what transpired after could be a perfect script for an award winning movie.
An uncle to the late Thokozani Secondary School pupil, Mr Joburt Moyo said events leading to the death of his niece started on 25 October when the girls fought at the school.
“I was building a house at my brother`s homestead and the girl who supplied the knife came and told me that she had been sent by her elders (names withheld to protect the identity of the accused minors) to show him the injuries she had suffered during a fight with Buhle. I asked her why they were fighting but she just mumbled. I then told her to report the matter to the teachers so that they could address the problem since it started when they were at school.
“Then on Saturday on 30 October Buhlebenkosi went to the grinding mill owned by a relative of the girl who supplied the knife and when she got there she was interrogated over the fighting.
Our daughter had to abandon the bag of maize there as the person did not accept that his granddaughter is the one who started the fight and she was only forced to defend herself.
She reported to her grandmother on arrival what had transpired and was troubled by the interrogation as the person had also asked ukuthi usithathangaphi isibindi sokutshaya omunye umntwana umkhiphe igazi(Where do you get the guts to beat our daughter until she bleeds),”said Mr Moyo.
He said Buhlebenkosi`s grandmother, Mrs Siluzile Moyo then sent other children to fetch the bag and although concerned with the escalation of the issue did not think it could lead to death.
Mr Moyo said the family was shocked when they received the news of the stabbing on Thursday and Buhlebenkosi`s father rushed with a wheelbarrow to the scene with the hope of rushing her to the clinic but found her already dead.
“Our daughter died around 3pm and we had to hire a car to fetch police officers at Gwelutshena Police Station as they had no car. They only arrived at the scene around 11pm due to distance and took statements.
From the statement given to police in our presence, the girl who had the knife said she carried it to school for days before our daughter was stabbed.
“She had stab wounds on the hands, nose, and mouth and on her left breast and the blade broke and remained stuck inside. We spent more than 24 hours with the body at the scene waiting for the police vehicle to it for a post-mortem.
The car came at 4pm on Friday.
“We are told they had challenges putting the body in the mortuary at Nkayi District Hospital and Inyathi Hospital mortuary as the mortuaries were said to have broken down. We also understand the police car transporting the body broke down at Ngwigwizi River and they spent the night there with the body and only reached Bulawayo on Monday when the body was already at an advanced state of decomposition. Buhlebenkosi`s mother came from South Africa after the tragedy .She saw the body at UBH and said maggots were feeding on it,” said Mr Moyo.
The body was later collected by a local funeral parlour. He said the pathologist who was supposed to attend to the body “did not touch her and we buried amathambo (bones) with the knife still lodged in her body”.
Mr Moyo said while the body was in the police, they met as a family and demanded that the families of two girls who stabbed their daughter and the one who supplied the knife compensate them with 15 cattle.
“The two families did not come to mourn with us and we had to summon them to our homestead where we put our demand to them as we felt disrespected.
The family whose daughter killed our child has already brought six cows while the other family is yet to. We buried our daughter in their absence but we are in great fear of what will befall us due to the unremoved knife blade,” he said.
The grandmother, Mrs Siluzile Moyo, said she passed out on receiving news about the death of her granddaughter who only returned home from South Africa in September after having gone there when schools closed due to Covid-19. She said the three were friends and would spend time together.
“After her death they sent some people to come and inform me. When they broke news I just went blank. I regained strength and staggered to the scene to find my granddaughter long gone. I am the one who raised her and she was an ever smiling child. She did not deserve to die under those circumstances,” she said as she burst into tears.
She denied the allegations that the fight was over a boyfriend as the said boyfriend was Buhlebenkosi`s blood relative.
Historian and cultural expert Mr Pathisa Nyathi said the family was right to be concerned about the knife which was not removed as the spirit of the girl may come back to haunt the family.
“Generally no metallic object can be buried with a body even items like buttons, rings, some styles done in the head are removed from the body before burial. It is worse in this case because you are talking about part of a knife which was buried with the body.
“The girl`s spirit will be a troubled and angered one which can spell doom for the family. There seems to be a bigger issue than the knife which doctors did not remove from the body,” he said.
Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Maphios Siamuchembu apologized to the Moyo family over the pain they have been put through by failure to remove the knife.
“My opinion is that this post-mortem was either not done at all or it was done inadequately. As a Ministry we owe this family an apology. I appreciate the difficulties that our staff work under sometimes, but our community deserves the best from us under the circumstances. The very least would have been to explain the findings or the difficulties encountered that prevented the procedure to the family,” said Dr Siamuchembu.
He said his office will carry out thorough investigations with the aim of solving such occurrences in future.
A relative to the girl who supplied the knife said they will pay the cows that were demanded by the Moyo family as they fear uzimu/ngozi (avenging spirits).
“I am not in a good state of mind to talk about this issue but I want to believe that had we as parents addressed the matter when it began we could have avoided this. Now that it has happened so many stories are flying all over and as a family it is affecting us.
“We will pay what the Moyo family demanded .We are close relatives with them and this has made us prisoners and we are at their mercy,” said the relative.
Police said they were investigating the matter and culprits will soon be brought to court. — @themkhust