Fungai Lupande and George Maponga
It is a bleak Easter for the family of Zvikomborero Chingarandi (25), a Masvingo Teachers’ College student who was raped and murdered in cold blood last month in a bushy area near the college while on her way to church.
Zvikomborero’s mother, Mrs Grace Chingarandi, said in an interview at their Borrowdale home in Harare yesterday that she “still struggles to eat and feels so much pain” about her daughter’s murder.
The parents have cancelled all their Easter holiday programmes, including attending a church conference, as they are still failing to come to terms with the murder.
Zvikomborero, described by her parents as God-fearing, was found dead on March 1, two days after she was attacked near Masvingo Teachers’ College.
A sombre atmosphere still engulfs the Chingarandi home, almost a month after their daughter was murdered.
Mrs Chingarandi said it was still difficult to accept that someone had decided to end the life of her daughter in that way.
While others are gathered at their church, the African Apostolic Church led by Mr Paul Mwazha, for a conference this Easter, Zvikomborero’s parents will be home still nursing their grief.
“We do not have the strength to travel for church celebrations this Easter,” said Mrs Chingarandi. “Life has never been the same since the death of my daughter. This is a great loss to us and we miss her so much.
“Zvikomborero was a God-fearing child and to think that she met her death on her way to church breaks my heart. This is a bleak Easter for us. I feel so much pain in my heart. I cannot eat because my daughter was the light of this family and had the gift of cheering everyone up.”
Mrs Chingarandi described her daughter as a smart, humble and principled girl. The pain in her eyes as she showered praises on Zvikomborero was unmistakable.
“I am deeply hurt to think that my child could have been home during this Easter holiday,” said Mrs Chingarandi.
“If only her attacker had broken her leg and let her go, my daughter could have been home with us today nursing her wounds.”
The soft-spoken Mrs Chingarandi said although the police had informed her that a suspect in the murder case had committed suicide in the cells, no relief was going to come her way.
Zvikomborero was renting a room in a suburb near the college after failing to secure accommodation.
“She was renting a room in Morningside suburb, sharing the room with another woman,” said Mrs Chingarandi. “It was on a Saturday when my daughter left for church around 9am and that was the last for her to be seen.
“She was going to attend an African Apostolic Church service at the college premises.
“The evangelist told us that Zvikomborero did not make it to church and she was found two days later, on a Monday, lying on the side of a road leading to the college.”
Zvikomborero was the third child in a family of five; two girls and three boys.
She attended Pfumo Primary School in Zengeza, Chitungwiza, before being transferred to Greystone Primary in Borrowdale. She completed her primary education at Hatcliffe Primary and proceeded to Vainona High School for her secondary education.
After her O-Levels, Zvikomborero stayed home while supplementing Mathematics before joining Masvingo Teachers’ College in September last year.
She died during her second semester at the college.
Zvikomborero’s father, Mr Obadiah Chingarandi, was said to have gone for a walk when The Herald visited the home.
Police said they suspected that her assailants first raped her before strangling her, as her clothes were torn while one of her legs was broken.
They later arrested 36-year-old HIV positive Nevison Tapesana of Tapesana Village under Chief Shumba on Saturday last week as the suspect in the rape and murder.
The police announced on Thursday that Tapesana had been found dead in holding cells after allegedly hanging himself using his T-shirt.
His body was found dangling on a window pane frame inside Masvingo Central police station cells where he had been detained pending appearance in court.
Tapesana was arrested by members of the public after he was found loitering at the bushy area where the body of Zvikomborero was found.
Acting Masvingo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna on Thursday said Tapesana was the prime suspect.
“He was found walking suspiciously in a bushy area where Zvikomborero’s body was found,’’ he said.
Asst Insp Nduna said police had not managed to find evidence linking Tapesana to her death before he killed himself.
He said Tapesana had admitted having raped and impregnated his 14-year-old daughter and infecting her with the HIV virus.