MBIRA queen, Mbuya Stella Chiweshe’s real name revealed
Mbuya Chiweshe succumbed to brain tumour in Harare on Friday last week at the age of 76.
And her wish to be buried according to her traditional customs was also granted.
Despite Nyaradzo providing an expensive casket that carried her body to Nekati village, her body was removed from the casket and wrapped in a reed mat (rukukwe) and cloth before being lowered into the grave.
The family said this was done in accordance with her desire to easily be connected with her ancestral spirits.
The family said they were only following her instructions.
The media was barred from the graveside.
And as she had requested in the living years, only traditional music was played at the funeral wake.
Prior to her death, Mbuya Chiweshe was said to have instructed the family not to play any gospel songs at her funeral.
No gospel song was sung and no biblical sermon was preached at her funeral and burial. Everything was kept to African tradition.
Addressing mourners at the burial, Mbuya Chiweshe’s eldest daughter, Maidei Charity Mapuranga, described her late mother as a true fighter.
“I am the first born to the late Mbuya Chiweshe. By the way, Chiweshe was not her surname, but a totem she adopted as a stage name. She lost her husband when we least expected it,” she said.
She became popular with her totem rather than her real surname.
“Chiweshe is not my mother’s surname but her totem. Her real name on national documents is Stella Nekati.”
Maidei said they tried their best as a family to save Mbuya Chiweshe.
“We took her to one of the best hospitals in the world, but the cancer was detected late.
“She was a brave woman who showed no signs of sickness. She didn’t suffer from memory loss and we are devastated to have lost our mother,” she said.
A number of mbira artists performed at Mbuya Chiweshe’s homestead on Monday night and yesterday.
These comprise Vee Mhofu and Dzivarembira who honoured Mbuya Chiweshe with song and dance. Energetic performer, Kessia Magosha, also put up a vintage performance.
Sasha Amadhuve, Ammi Jamanda, Lioness, Mama Rachie, Wilfred “Nyamasvisva” MaAfrika and a number of traditional dancers from Mufakose also performed.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, her deputy Tino Machakaire, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe representatives, villagers and other artists attended the burial.