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COVID-19 Burial Stalemate Ends

Late traditional doctor Gaborapelwe Mazwimbo PIC: SUPPLIED
FRANCISTOWN: The family of a prominent traditional doctor in the Boteti Region has finally agreed to bury their father after a protracted battle with authorities over where to bury him.

The healer, Gaborapelwe Mazwimbo was finally laid to rest on April 18, 2021, at a public cemetery in Rakops, The Monitor learnt on Thursday after the healer’s son and family representative, Molatwaemang Gaborapelwe disclosed.

The conflict between the Letlhakane Sub-Land Board and Mazwimbo’s family erupted after the family wanted to bury him at a spot of his choice per his traditional practices.

According to Molatwaemang, his father, who passed on due to complications related to COVID-19, wished to be buried at an ungazetted spot at his cattle post in Seokwane 1.

However, negotiations between the Sub-Land Board and the family to resolve the issue of where Mazwimbo should be buried hit a snag.

The family insisted that they were going to bury their father as he had instructed them to.

The family shared fears of being cursed should they not bury Mazwimbo as per his wishes at a public cemetery.

After Mazwimbo’s family and the Sub-Land Board failed to reach an amicable agreement over where he should be buried, the Sub-Land Board approached the High Court in Francistown on the urgency for redress.

Justice Bengbame Sechele ended up ruling in favour of the Sub-Land Board saying that Mazwimbo should be buried at any public cemetery where his family so desires, but not at an ungazetted burial spot.

The order was made in the absence of Mazwimbo’s family, which had previously told The Monitor that it was not aware of the court proceedings.Things, however, took a nasty turn when Mazwimbo’s family refused to bury their father.

The family dared the authorities at the Sub-Land Board to bury the deceased on

its own, as Mazwimbo, having died of COVID-19 complications, was in state custody following his death in Gaborone at the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital on April 10.

This resulted in the corpse lying at the government mortuary for more than a week without being buried.

On Friday, Molatwaemang told The Monitor that the family ended up agreeing to bury their father at a public cemetery in Rakops following extensive consultations within the family.

“Although it was a painful and difficult decision to bury our father at a public cemetery contrary to his wishes, the family ended up giving me the responsibility of going to the mortuary where my father was kept to perform some rituals so that he can sleep in eternal peace. The family gave me that responsibility because I am also a prophet although I have not fully accepted the calling,” Molatwaemang explained.

He added that although the family has buried Mazwimbo, there are signs that he is still unhappy with where he is buried because they keep on seeing ghastly things that he said he was not comfortable sharing with this reporter.

“However, the situation is not worse like in the beginning when the compounds of my siblings and my compound were invaded by large snakes. We think the situation will abate as time goes on,” Molatwaemang said.

It remains to be seen if boreholes and wells in the Boteti Region will end up drying  as Molatwaemang elucidated that his father had warned sources of water would dry up should he not be buried according to his explicit wishes.


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