HURUNGWE — The death of the late international music icon Biggie Tembo’s mother in Karoi last Sunday exposed the internal conflicts raging in the family, as the late musician’s widow and sons snubbed the funeral of Anna Marasha Tembo, who succumbed to hypertension at her rural homestead in Nyamupfukudza village under Chief Dendera.
BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
The burial of Gogo Tembo, who was described by headman Steven Gonga as a “peacemaker”, attracted nearly 300 mourners.
The deceased’s daughter-in-law, Ratidzai Mariga (52), was, however, conspicuous by her absence.
She told NewsDay that she could not attend the funeral because she had been an outcast in the family because Gogo Tembo never recognised her as a daughter-in-law, following her husband’s death after he hung himself in 1995.
“The Tembo family hated me before Biggie’s death and there was no need for me to attend the funeral. The late Gogo Tembo loathed me and it was of no use for me to pay last respects. The Tembo family can hardly believe that their son Biggie died as a destitute,” she said in a telephone interview.
“He had nothing besides a will he wrote while in the United Kingdom when things were better for him. When he passed on, he was a mental case and, as a family, they are still holding onto the false belief that he had properties, when, in actual fact, he had
Mariga’s two sons with Biggie — Kumbirai and Malvin — as well as another son, Elia, from Biggie’s other wife, did not attend the funeral.
Her father-in-law, Marasha Tembo (85), claimed that she had negatively influenced his grandsons, after grabbing properties that he claimed the late musician acquired during his international stint in the UK.
“We never saw anything that Biggie had acquired during his international stardom. The wife last came here during his burial in 1995 and she has never set foot here again,” he said.
Biggie’s only surviving brother, Moyo, said it was disheartening that his late brother’s children never visited their grandmother when she fell sick for two years, and appealed to them to come back home.
Mariga, however, labelled Moyo the “trouble causer”, who had fuelled the tension between the late musician and his family.
“I have no intention of going back to the Tembo family. But the children can go on their own,” she said.
Moyo, meanwhile, claimed that Karoi District Hospital staff did not handle his mother properly when she was transferred to the institution on Saturday and was not attended to until late on Sunday.
He said when Biggie Tembo Jnr arrived at the hospital, he asked the nurses about the negligence and it was only after they had been told the patient was the late music icon’s mother that they treated the case as an emergency, but it was already too late.