By Fairness Moyana
Talk about disrespecting the dead. Daring thieves are reportedly stealing bricks and tombstones from graves at Madumabisa and Lwendulu Cemetery in Hwange, a development that has sent shivers down residents’ spines.
Residents and village elders have described the move as “daring” and “unheard of”. The thieves were now targeting graveyards in Madumabisa and Lwendulu villages under Hwange Colliery Company concession area after reportedly destroying a church perimeter wall and making away with the bricks.
The type of brick which is reportedly in demand because of its strength and durability is sold to property developers in Hwange, Lupane, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. Most buildings in Hwange which include schools, clinics, hospitals, supermarkets, recreational facilities, Government complexes and churches were built by the much sought after brick.
Residents told Sunday News that the practice had been going on for some time without anyone noticing until the discovery that a perimeter wall had been destroyed by thieves in an effort to steal bricks.
“As you may be aware, most people don’t usually visit the graveyard after burial because of certain cultural beliefs linked with the dead which often result in fear. Hence, these daring and shameful practices have not been known until recently when people who wanted to perform a ritual at their loved ones’ graves discovered that the tombstone and all the bricks had been stolen. Further to that, a perimeter wall that was erected many years back using a strong locally made brick was reduced into nothing after thieves made away with it,” said a resident from Madumabisa Village who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another resident said the thieves seemed to be deliberately targeting locally made strong and durable bricks that were used by Hwange Colliery Company to build houses, buildings and as perimeter fences for sites such as cemeteries.
“The stealing of items from the dead has really shocked us as a community in Hwange Urban. This is a taboo and shameful development, which has affected the peace in the community. There are thieves who are stealing bricks especially the one that was made and used by Colliery written ‘Wankie’ because of its strength.
“A wall made by these bricks which houses the Methodist Church in Madumabisa next to Kamandama Mine disaster site was destroyed and the bricks taken. These daring thieves have not stopped there but have gone on to target graves adorned with this kind of bricks. A number of graves have been defiled as a result of these thieves who sometimes remove the tombstone and dispose it before going for their target- the bricks,” said Mr Obrian Nyathi, a resident in Madumabisa Village.
Village elders in the two areas have called for swift action to be taken against the perpetrators arguing that the defilement of the graves would bring misfortune in the town while appealing to residents to desist and report people who sell them such bricks.
Contacted for comment, Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Glory Banda said they had not yet received a report to that effect.
However, Ward 11 councillor, Cosmas Nyoni confirmed the development saying he had since reported the matter to the Hwange Colliery Company security department. The Sunday News