Melody Baya Chronicle Reporter
A YOUNG couple from Bulawayo’s Mabutweni suburb have told of their hell after the body of their three-week-old daughter was switched at a funeral parlour and buried by another family.
Simbarashe Mahweda, 22, and Silvia Gopoza, 21, said they were given the body of a five-month-old baby when they went to collect their tot for burial at Exodus funeral parlour on Easter Saturday.
The baby died following complications days after birth.
“I asked my aunt Betty Mataka to assist me in identifying the body. But as we approached the morgue, we were stopped by two men who asked us to wait,” said an emotional Mahweda.
“We were made to wait in a room for almost an hour without any communication from the parlour administrators.”
He said they were finally shown a body of a five-month-old baby whom he said “was picked to the replace our child who we were later told had been buried by another family on Thursday last week.”
Officials at the parlour, said Mahweda, promised to rectify the “mistake.”
He said they met the family that had buried their only child and waited for Exodus Funeral Parlour to facilitate exhumation of their daughter’s body.
He did not disclose the name of the family.
Mahweda said the funeral home’s officials went quiet and after probing, they asked for up to Monday and yesterday to solve the problem.
“They didn’t communicate again until we approached the police who advised us to talk with the parlour’s owners,” said the distraught Mahweda.
Yesterday, he said the parlour’s owner — whom he identified only as Charles — told them to pay $100 to the Bulawayo City Council so that the body could be exhumed.
“We don’t have the money. Exodus Funeral parlour has drawn out our grief and we find it traumatising,” he said.
Gopoza said she heard, with mounting alarm, the parlour officials saying: “The whole process (exhumation) can take a long time and it can only be done on a Friday or Saturday.”
She said: “I’m in pain as we speak. I really trusted these people to prepare my child for burial. I just want to facilitate a proper burial for my child and make sure she’s buried the right way.”
Charles, who told The Chronicle his surname is Juwake, said the mix-up was made by the morticians.
“I guess our morticians made a mistake. This couldn’t be avoided as the babies were placed side by side and their name tags had been put in their wrappers which led to the incident,” he said.
“Besides, when babies are dead they all look the same.”