Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
A Gweru-based land developer has opened the city’s first private cemetery.
Destiny Memorial Park, with 50 000 graves, is located along the Gweru-Chiwundura road in a new suburb called Northern Heights and has a life span of over 60 years according to one of its directors Mr Runyararo Muzondo.
With most cemeteries in Gweru — notably Mtapa close to the central business district and Mupunzarima in Mkoba suburb — largely full, Mr Muzondo said residents are looking elsewhere for alternative burial space.
“I am happy to let you know that we have opened a new and only private cemetery in Gweru called Destiny Memorial Park.
“The cemetery is located in an area which falls under the Vungu Rural District Council and has a life span of over 60 years and can accommodate 50 000 graves.
“It is sitting on 25 000ha but the first phase is on 10ha,” he said.
Mr Muzondo said the graves cost between $400 and $800 adding that they were offering dedicated children’s section, double interments (in a single grave), potable water and ablution facilities with flushing/shower water.
“The park is close to the highway, there is round the clock security, full perimeter wall, sectional fencing, full access roads and footpaths,” he said.
Burial space constraints are not only confined to Gweru. Harare and Bulawayo are also facing burial space shortages.
Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said his local authority has just opened a new cemetery called Mutasa which he said had a lifespan of about 15 years.
“We welcome opening of other private cemeteries. We have Mutasa, Mupunzarima which have a lifespan of about 15 years but it’s a short time considering urban development,” he said.
While Destiny Memorial Park offers cremation services, GCC has no crematorium.
In Zimbabwe, cremation is largely shunned as it is viewed as a religious abomination and cultural taboo.
The majority of Zimbabweans prefer burials over cremation.