(Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by ZIMDAILY EDITOR)
Described as a dedicated and God-fearing child, who was passionate about shining a beacon of hope on the under-privileged members of her community, 15-year-old Kimberly Tarisai Mutusva’s dream was to form a partnership with her two friends, Beyonce Guyo (15) and Anita Manyuka (16) next year, and start a business.
Sadly, as fate would have it, the three star-crossed friends, along with their schoolmates, Destiny Dziva (14), Anesuishe Hove (14) and Craig Madanhire, could not survive the accident in which a Tynwald High School bus on its way to a trip veered off the road and overturned at the 75km peg along Rusape-Nyanga Road near Pine Tree Hotel around 7pm last Friday.
In the unfolding story of pain, anguish and death, whose shadow hung proudly above the hundreds of grief-stricken mourners, who thronged the Glen Forest Memorial Park perched on a beautiful valley, a gaze beyond the contrasting Harare suburbs of Borrowdale to the south-east and Hatcliffe to the south, a kind of defiance overhang the sombre atmosphere.
It is that kind of insolence that one encounters only in poetry, particularly in John Donne’s (1572-1631) poem “Death Be Not Proud”, in which the poet tells death off, insisting that through determination and love, the Grim Reaper can be slain.
Convinced that their partnership would stand whatever fate would have thrown at them, Kim and her friends “killed” death, cruel death, as they took their partnership to heaven; declaring, “One short sleep past, we wake eternally.
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
Indeed, death shall die, as Kim, Beyonce and Anita were laid side-by-side, in that order, to symbolically chide death, and celebrate their partnership consolidated in life and eternalised in the heavens.
Craig, Anesu and Destiny were laid to rest head-to-foot to Kim, Beyonce and Anita, respectively, thus cementing their relationship in school as in God’s glory.
There should be a word to describe the funereal atmosphere that overwhelmed the dale that makes part of the Glen Forest Memorial Park and its environs when the caskets bearing the bodies of the six children, united in a final journey by bus on a trip that could have been, were carried by pallbearers to their final resting place.
Solemn is just not enough. It falls short in capturing that combination of loss, and the circumstances that brought.
Although the reserved Kim, born second in a family of three children, was only in Form Two, her aspiration was to become a successful businessperson like her father.
“Kimberly was a dedicated child in terms of education”, her father, Macmillan Mutusva told The Herald.
“She wanted to have her own company at the age of 14. That was what she would tell me on a daily basis. Each time she would come to my room every morning, she would talk about business.”
Mr Mutusva said he had three notebooks in his possession in which Kim jotted down her business ideas.
“She was so much into business”, he added.
It was this passion for business which saw the angelic Kim abandon initial consideration for boarding school, because Tynwald High School’s business studies programme ticked all the right boxes in her young captain of industry’s imagination.
“Because I run four businesses, Kimberly’s dream was to have me retire at the age of 40 or 43, and engage managers to help her run the companies, while I sit back and enjoy my retirement,” the teary Mr Mutusva revealed.
She was always fascinated by partnerships, and would take her father to task on why he wasn’t into collaborations.
“Kim and her two friends wanted to register a company next year, and she vowed that they would forge a great partnership,” said Mr Mutusva.
He said although he was devastated that his daughter and her two friends could not make it on that fateful day, he was consoled by the fact that their partnership endured adversity.
“They have gone to heaven to partner together,” he said, adding, “So, I am at peace when I see these young ladies going together. They went together on a school trip and could not make it back home alive. I just pray that they are in safe hands.”
Kim, who also had “desire for agriculture”, wanted to have her own farm on whose proceeds she would feed less privileged children in her community and country at large.
Oozing love, giving to the needy ran in her blood.
“Kimberly loved people”, her elder brother, Macmillan Tanaka (18), said. “She was good, kind and loving.”
Each time they would fight, as siblings are wont to, she would “come back” to her brother to have the issue resolved amicably.
“I would always remember my sister for standing with me throughout the time our dad was under the weather. We would pray and fast for 40 days, with Kim encouraging us to always put everything in God’s hands,” Macmillan (Jr) said.
Kim’s 13-year-old brother, Tinodaishe weighed in, saying his sister was not one to take sibling fights to heart, as she would teach him to be respectful.
“She kind of had a premonition for her death. In June, when we had a tiff, she said, ‘One day I will depart this world, and you will miss me’”, Tino said.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Tumisang Thabela commiserated with the bereaved families, saying adults should take responsibility in safeguarding the lives of children.
She said although Covid-19 was largely devastating, it only claimed the lives of two learners since its onset, while six tender lives were plucked away in a single swish of human error.
Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province, Mr Tafadzwa Muguti, said it was disheartening that promising flowers were nipped in the bud.
“On behalf of His Excellency, President Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, all ministers in the Office of the President and Cabinet, and permanent secretaries, we are deeply saddened by this loss,” he said.
Tynwald High School head, Mr Kenias Matimba, said as a school they were saddened by the untimely death of the six learners.
“My heart is shattered and broken. There is no way we can have a school without children. It is a loss for us. The accident was unfortunate and we appreciate the condolence messages we have been receiving.”
Mr Matimba said when the mishap occurred, the Zvinavashe Trust mobilised resources to ferry the injured learners to hospitals. He also had to drive to the scene, before proceeding to hospitals to check on the casualties.
Other parents described the loss of a child as painful, saying their wish was to see their children grow and take care of them in their old age.
They said it was agonising to bury one’s child as one would expect children to bury their parents, not the other way round.
Mr Tendai Zvoma, a friend to Mr Farai Hove, father to Anesuishe, said as parents, burying children has always been painful.
“I am here as a parent and a friend of the Hoves. It is always painful to bury your child, because you would be seeing them as future leaders with different aspirations in life,” he said.
Mrs Yevedzai Ferenando echoed the same sentiments, saying as a parent burying a child has never been easy.
“As a mother, I would be expecting that my child would bury me when I die, not the other way round. We just wish that God comforts the grieving families during this difficult time,” she said.
Miss Faith Manambo said even though she was yet to have a child, she felt the pain of losing a child.
Meanwhile, the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) expressed their condolences on the passing on of the children and wished a speedy recovery to those hospitalised.
“We continue to urge motorists and drivers of public transport to exercise caution on the roads to safeguard the safety of passengers. We also urge them to avoid speeding, especially in bad terrains in order to save lives.
“We urge organisations, schools and companies to recruit experienced drivers, who value the responsibilities bestowed upon them. We also urge transporters to usually move during the day to enable proper visibility,” said PAZ in a statement.