A cry from the deep end

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

“Fellow Zimbabweans, I come before you with a heavy heart, a heart that is in deep mourning. I come with my head bowed in gratitude for the love and patience you have continued to show us in the past few months since coming into the eye of a storm caused by Covid-19,” these were the sobering words of a man who has seen it all.

This was Mr Phillip Matanyika, Chief Executive Officer of Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance Company.

Mataranyika, himself a bubbly character, today brought a never seen before face as he spoke in a six minute video.

His key message, ‘we are reeling under the pandemic.’

For a man whose business since its inception has been premised around uncompromising efficiency, to come and describe the conditions they are facing as ‘unprecedented,’ it communicates a grim image.

Truly, these are unfamiliar territories we are treading in.

Worldwide, healthcare providers are overwhelmed by the magnitude of extreme health conditions of patients brought to them.

Not only are they overwhelmed by the dire conditions of patients, but by the number of those in need of critical care and attention which outstrip the available capacities.

In many hospitals and care giving institutions in Zimbabwe patients have had to sleep on the floor, some in passages, while others are sent back for lack of space to accommodate them.

It only takes a sober and honest assessment of the present circumstances, that we individually begin to introspect and reassess our actions to see if we are not individually or collectively culpable and responsible for the present predicament that our country finds itself immersed in.

People are dying in droves countrywide and the world over.

Admittedly, it is not anybody’s fault that we are here, but surely everybody has got a role to play to get us out of this deep hole we are fast drowning in.

“The World Health Organisation has classified Covid-19 as a pandemic, and issued numerous warnings about its effects. More than that, they have issued guidelines that if we observe we may be spared the agony sickness and in other cases death,” said Mr Mataranyika.

Even in the wake of widespread deaths, there are those who are still adamant in their denial of the virus or measures to reduce its spread.

Mr Mataranyika said that is a luxury we have long forgone.

“Our hospitals are full of the sick, and our morgues are full of the dead. Our colleagues on the frontline in the health sector are doing all they can to save lives, yet at many a times their efforts are not rewarded resulting in loss of lives, and this has happened on occasions too numerous to mention. Each time this has happened, morgues have borne the brunt, which is why I am talking to you today.

I implore you fellow countrymen, to observe the World Health Organisation guidelines as well as those issued by our government so that we can be safe and avoid the infections”, he said.

Mr Mataranyika said at the moment, operating is difficult, as their organisations capacity as Nyaradzo is stretched.

“Because there have been many deaths, the end-of-life industry has been under immense pressure resulting in delays all round,” he continued.


In a normal environment, burial of the deceased loved ones should provide a moment of pride and celebration of a life well lived.

This is usually expressed through a befitting funeral ceremony where relatives and loved ones are allowed to grieve and mourn their loved one with dignity. Covid-19 has changed all this.

Today it has become a privilege and an unnecessary risk to be present at a relative’s burial.

Traditional expressions of grief and send-off ceremonies are now a luxury and not in anyone’s reach anymore. Departed relatives are now being buried by strangers, with relatives and friends not allowed anywhere near their remains, let alone such well established send-off rituals as body viewing.

It’s typical normalisation of African taboos.

But little choice do we have.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for us as Africans, and possibly as world citizens, is to accept the new realities and work ourselves extra hard to adjust and adapt.

The faster we do this the better for humanity, lest the human race becomes extinct.


Maybe for starters, let me bring the reality closer to home.

I experienced the agony and exasperation that engulfs one when they lose a loved one in such circumstances, especially if they happen to die at home.

It is never easy to keep remains of a departed loved one in the house for several hours, especially when no time frames are fixed for body removals.

It is even more emotionally taxing to have to wait for hours, even days at the morgue, just to get the hearse to transport loved ones to their final resting places. Yes, funeral parlours are overwhelmed.

Not a single service provider has adequate equipment for the task at hand.

The situation calls for collective responsibility, in some instances demanding that families and friends of the departed play a role, in spite of the existence of a funeral policy with a service provider.

Fellow countrymen, this pandemic is unprecedented. Anyone who claims to be adequately prepared for the current predicament may not be in their right frame of mind. Governments have been caught unawares, so has been players in the private service provision, that is healthcare and funeral administration.


Indeed humanity is under siege. Our existence as the human race hangs by the thread. Economies are under pressure and our societies may never be the same again.

It is our singular and collective actions that can make a difference. We are all urged to do the right things and get vaccinated and to continue wearing masks, sanitising, social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel.

The responsibility rests entirely on our shoulders and the health and well-being of the nation depends on individual actions that we take each day.

Zimbabwe, it is time to rise and be counted. Let’s be soldiers of good in the fight against this pandemic.

We are in different yet difficult and unprecedented times which call for extraordinary effort and actions.

Our nation should live and our people must be saved from this pandemic.