THE death of Livingstone Sunhwa (19) has opened another incredibly sad and difficult episode as relevant parties are failing to agree on an appropriate burial for the deceased.
According to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests results released last week, the human skeletal remains discovered in a thicket near St Mathias Tsonzo High School in Mutasa in June belonged to Livingstone, whose whereabouts had not been accounted for since his mysterious disappearance from the school last year.
While many thought a decent burial for the young man would have been done as soon as the DNA results were released, some members of the Sunhwa family are reportedly playing hard ball, thereby stalling burial arrangements.
A week has gone by after the release of the DNA test results, but family members are failing to agree on the funeral arrangements.
Meanwhile, Livingstone’s remains remain stuck at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital mortuary.
While family members haggle and drag their feet, Livingstone’s widowed mother, Ms Selina Tadya, continues to endure the pain of failing to give her beloved son a decent burial.
Sources close to the developments confirmed to The Manica Post that Ms Tadya received a hostile reception after officially approaching her late husband’s family.
This is despite the fact that the Sunhwas were part of the search party that led to the discovery of the skeletal remains on June 20.
“There have been under-currents over the custody of the children following the death of her husband in 2012. The Shunwas asked her to leave since she was young, and she left with her two children, including the deceased.
“At some stage, her in-laws approached her with the intention of taking her children, but she refused to surrender the kids. This did not go down well with them.
“They are now hitting back at her by playing hard ball, which is unfortunate because they are being insensitive to her feelings during this difficult time,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Manica Post understands that Ms Tadya toiled alone to raise Livingstone and his sister, Pride, since the death of her husband in 2012.
“In addition to coping with the grief, she is left in charge of planning the funeral as well as handling the various legal details. This can make an already devastating situation more stressful.
“When a loved one dies, it is a time of grief. What is already a very difficult situation can be made even harder when a family finds itself in a feud over the funeral arrangements,” said the source.
Contacted for comment, Ms Tadya said all she wants is closure on the matter.
She also said last week, St Mathias Tsonzo High School, which is run by the Anglican Church, approached her family and offered to assist with funeral arrangements.
However, this offer was rejected.
“The school went to Mutasa Police Station and asked them to help them in approaching my family (the Tadyas). They offered to assist with Livingstone’s burial, but my family refused.
“Why are they coming now after all this time? They never said sorry for my son’s loss. They never helped us with investigations to bring out the truth about what happened to my son.
“Even in their last term’s report, there was no information indicating that a child had gone missing at the school, so why come now to offer to extend help towards Livingstone’ burial?
“No money can buy life, I already lost my son. Their refusal to co-operate with investigations showed me that Livingstone never existed to them and that hurts me to the core.
“My tears won’t dry up until the culprits are exposed and justice is served.
“Unfortunately funeral arrangements as not yet clear. I was with my in-laws early this week but nothing tangible materialised. The Sunhwas are refusing to cooperate and we reported the issue to the police on Monday. They will send summons to the Sunhwas. We will let you know the outcome,” she said, adding that Livingstone’s remains are currently at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare.
Ms Tadya added: “The pain is worse now. Instead of me being at one place to mourn my son, I am going up and down attending to different issues.”
The Manica Post understands that a team of detectives handling the matter visited St Matthias Tsonzo High School early this week to interview some students.
However, the police refused to comment on the latest developments