Appeal for donations to repatriate the body of the late Bhekitshe Moyo back to Zimbabwe.
An inquest is due to take place in the United Kingdom after a Zimbabwean boxer was found dead in a park in South London.
Bhekitshe Moyo, 42, popularly known as ‘Tiger’ to his friends and fans was reported as a missing person on the 6th March 2017 at around 6.30pm after suicide notes had been found at his friend’s place where he had been staying.
Police and friends described desperate scenes as his young sister Mpilwenhle tried to co-ordinate the search over Facebook from Southern Africa. The deceased’s mobile phone was triangulated and the area searched (Mitcham Common). He was eventually located by a Police helicopter which in turn then guided the officers on the ground to the location. Further notes were found on him. One of the notes was to the UK immigration service.
Moyo was born in the Manama area of Gwanda in Zimbabwe where he attended Nhana Primary and Bethel Secondary School. He then went to South Africa where he attained a degree in banking.
He migrated to the UK in 2002 on a sports visa (boxing) which he renewed regularly as required and competed in more than 50 professional bouts. He used his spare time to study law and volunteer at boxing clubs, teaching children the sport.
Everything changed when he was refused leave to remain when he applied for settlement after a qualifying period. Friends said he was threatened with deportation and was kept at Brook House detention centre. Moyo used all his savings as he fought for the right to stay in the UK through the courts. He dropped out of his LLB course due to lack of funds and was reduced to sofa surfing after he became homeless.
On the 15th February 2017, Moyo wrote to the Home Office and told his case worker that: ‘If I have any freedom left, that freedom is the control over my own life and body and I shall exercise it by removing myself from the hurt the Home Office has put me under and end my own life.’ In the same letter, he told the Home Office of a previous suicide attempt in November 2016, while he was detained at Brook House adding that unless his case was resolved, his road was nearing its end.
In his last message on Facebook at 18:51 hrs on the 6th March, Moyo encouraged people to fight for a just and democratic world concluding:
‘I shed a tear as I write this because I will not be there when a new and just world is built. I have to sleep now. I love you all. Now be good to one another. Peace.’
Zimbabwean community leaders in the UK said it was difficult to understand why authorities ignored the risk and released him.
One of his friends, Lance, said of Moyo: ‘Bheki had no bad bone in him, he was such a good man. I have never known anyone as good and sincere as Bheki. He was like Mandela. I used to call him ‘The next Madiba.”
Moyo’s family said his mother, who lives in the village, was too upset to talk but is desperate to raise money for a visa and air tickets to travel to the UK to take Moyo’s body back to the place of his birth. His sister Mpilwenhle thanked his friends and in particular Wasim IIyas and his family for their assistance, both on the day and in the days leading up to Moyo’s death.
ZImbabwe Diaspora Focus Group (ZDFG) chairperson Lucia Dube said anyone wishing to help or to get further details can contact Moyo’s family representative in the UK – Thapelo Mdlongwa Nkwate on +44 (0)7710122535 (calls) or +44 (0) 7764270132 (WhatsApp).
Those who want to assist, a GoFundMe has been set up for anyone willing to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/the-late-bhekitshe-moyo-appeal.
Also included are account details:
IN UK- T M NKWATE
OUTSIDE UK -V MANDA
Branch code 632005