Renowned Zimbabwe novelist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga has been forced to apologise after initially claiming that mbira music sensation Chiwoniso Maraire died because of a shortage of Anti Retro-Viral medication (ARV’s).
Writing on her Facebook wall on Friday, Dangarembga had said “Our country and the world treats African, especially Zim women artists, like garbage. All that girl needed was a course of # ARVs and she couldn’t even get that.
“Meanwhile some Embassies of affluent nations have projects with white people in the arts here to support the black people with ARV that those white people work with for the SAKE OF THE WHITE PERSON’S business. It doesn’t get sicker than that. So many versions of # Travyon Martin. #hurting.”
But after a glut of criticism directed at her Dangarembga was forced to issue this public apology:
“Just back from grieving at our Sister Chiwoniso Maraire‘s. I was told categorically that our sister was not taking any medication like ARVs because she did not need to take them at all. There was no question lack of access.
“I was also informed that it was not my place to make claims that were not substantiated about my sister’s health. I was so happy to hear this from people who knew the real situation.
“I am happy to set the record straight by making this post and to say that my speculation on this forum was completely ill-advised and has caused additional grief to an already unbearable situation.
“I am deeply sorry for all the distress I caused, and it just goes to show the greatest that surrounded our sister that they felt kind enough to speak to me to set the record straight. God is great. To him goes all the glory. I heard your voice, my sister. Rest in peace.”
Chiwoniso died at the South Medical Hospital in Chitungwiza on Wednesday evening after being admitted with a lung infection. Her manager Cosmas Zamangwe said:
“She had been in hospital for the past 10 days suffering from chest pains. We are, however, still to ascertain the disease she was suffering from but we suspect it is pneumonia,” he said.
Chiwoniso’s death comes just over a year since her ex-husband Andy Brown died at Parirenyatwa Hospital after battling pneumonia. They had two children together – Chengeto and Chiedza.