By Mkhululi Ncube
A Bulawayo family suffered a double tragedy when a grief-stricken woman from Mpopoma committed suicide shortly after the burial of her mother in an incident that has left the community in shock.
Mrs Sithembiso Phiri -Sibanda who stayed with her husband in Gwanda, had travelled to Bulawayo to attend her 65-year-old mother, Mrs Rita Phiri’s funeral. Sithembiso committed suicide by hanging herself with a wrapping cloth in one of the rooms a few hours after burying her mother who reportedly died in her sleep on Sunday.
The deceased’s visibly shocked husband, Mr Obadiah Sibanda said he was at a loss for words following the double tragedy that befell the family.
“We went to bury my mother-in-law at around 11am. I had not realised that she did not go to the cemetery. When we returned from the cemetery, we had lunch and neighbours dispersed to their homes,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said other female relatives were in the house while men were seated outside.
He said his wife took a bath after which she went into one of the rooms intending to change clothes.
“Everyone thought she was changing after taking a bath, but it seems she used that chance to kill herself. We got suspicious when she took long to come out of the room,” said Mr Sibanda.
He said efforts were made to look for her and they discovered her room was locked.
“We tried to knock on the door and there was no response. I got worried and alerted relatives and we peered through the window leading to the discovery of her body hanging from the trusses,” said Mr Sibanda.
She did not leave a suicide note.
Another family member Mr Wurayai Shiri said they were struggling to come to terms with the double tragedy.
“This is so painful and unbelievable. I cannot even join the pieces, it is tough. Maybe if she had left a note, we would be having some answers. We have never experienced something like this in our family. It is a hard time for sure,” said Mr Shiri.
A sister to the deceased, Ms Regina Phiri could only say: “I am just heartbroken about my sister.”
A neighbour who identified himself only as Mr Ndlovu said they were shocked to hear cries coming from the house a few hours after they left.
“It was shocking as everyone could identify the crying as that of a person mourning the death of someone. We rushed to the house where we discovered what had happened,” he said.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe manager for Matabeleland Mr Comfort Muchekeza who is a neighbour and was at the house said:
“It is shocking in the sense that we buried the mother in the morning and then she commits suicide.
“Possibly that is when you will understand that those who commit suicide it is not out of their liking. I think there is an element of mental stress somewhere where people fail to accept reality.”
He said it was paramount for communities to use channels like the church to be taught about the realities of life so that people accept what befalls them.
Mr Muchekeza said death was not a way of evading whatever problem they face but should rather share with others so that they are assisted to overcome their challenges.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the scene yesterday at around 6PM, the body was being taken to the mortuary. The Chronicle