SOCIALITE Mitchelle Amuli’s mother Yolanda Kuvaoga is organising a ‘befitting’ memorial service for her late daughter as she claims the diva was ‘buried like a dog,’ the Daily News on Sunday reports.
Popularly known as Moana, Mitchelle died on November 8 in a horrific crash along Borrowdale Road together with fellow socialite and businessman Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure and two of their friends from Malawi and Mozambique.
The four was heading for Kadungure’s Domboshava mansion from Dreams nightclub where they had celebrated Moana’s 26th birthday.
Kadungure was buried on November 14 at his mansion and thousands attended his burial. It was however a different case for Moana whose funeral wake lasted 20 days owing to a cocktail of problems and squabbles between her parents.
Moana and her two friends were charred beyond recognition after Kadungure’s Rolls Royce exploded into flames after hitting a tree on that fateful day. The DNA results were announced more than a week after the accident and by the time the results came out, her parents failed to agree on how and where the late socialite should be buried.
To solve the impasse, Moana’s parents, who had since divorced, approached the courts which ruled in favour of Ishmael Amuli (Moana’s father). High Court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda said Amuli “has the right to bury his daughter the way he wants” considering he played an influential role in raising Moana in the absence of Kuvaoga.
Hence, the mother of one was buried at Warren Hills (Muslims Section) in Harare in line with Islamic traditions against Kuvaoga’s preferred Zororo Memorial Park near Chitungwiza.
“I am not happy with the way my daughter was buried. Mitchelle was buried like a dog and this pains me a lot,” Kuvaoga told the Daily News on Sunday.
After featuring in a number of top musical videos the likes of Jah Prayzah’s Munyaradzi and being brand ambassador of leading companies, Kuvaoga expected a huge funeral that suited her daughter’s status during her lifetime.
“She was popular and that was not a secret. All I wanted was to see all her friends attending the burial. It was also my wish to see Doves Funeral Services leading the funeral procession to match Moana’s standards,” she said.
However, Moana was buried without a casket as this is the normal Muslim way.
“I had no problem with seeing Mitchelle going down without a casket, all I wanted was to do a normal funeral including taking the body from the hospital mortuary to the private mortuary, in this case Doves. Doves were supposed to provide a casket for the funeral procession. It would have been better if they (Muslims) had crushed the casket at the grave site and buried the body the way they wanted,” she said.
Kuvaoga said the memorial service that she is organising, set for January 2 in Highfield in Harare, will compensate for the “poor burial.”
“Since she was a people’s person, the event is mainly targeting some of her friends who failed to attend the burial. We are also trying to give our daughter deserving respect considering that she was buried like a dog,” Kuvaoga said.
Kuvaoga also told the Daily News on Sunday that some sections of society failed to understand her daughter.
“I am surprised by people who labelled Mitchelle a commercial sex worker. No, she was not into sex work. She was a hard worker who earned her money from her acting and her fitness career. She was not in love with Genius (Kadungure) but they clicked very well as they were all into business,” Kuvaoga said.
She said the family is not going to distribute Moana’s belongings.
“All her properties will be inherited by her daughter. We will rather sell some of her belongings for the upkeep of the child,” she said.
Kuvaoga scoffed at reports that she was not close to Moana.
“We were very close to each other. If I was not close to her, there was no way she could renovate our Highfield house. Before she died, she gave me some of her belongings. Above all, we used to share some life secrets.
“I still remember she had attempted to commit suicide three times when she was in an abusive relationship. Through my counselling, she managed to escape the abusive marriage. What she went through in her marriage is almost similar to what I went through in my marriage. Men can be ruthless and abusive. The only way to save your life is to walk away from that union,” Kuvaoga said.