HARARE – TO his friends, he lived a fast and lavish life, splashing cash, but Boris Mushonga’s family believes he was just another young man with nothing to show for his notoriety.
Living fast and dying young at 23, Boris Mushonga loved swag, and was always dressed in the latest labels.
But his uncle Dereck Mushonga said yesterday his nephew had nothing to his name.
Mourners rally behind the hearse carrying Boris Mushonga's coffin.
His friends said the father-of-one, popularly known as “King Fox” by his peers, loved the finer things in life, which they all adored.
Boris was a reckless spendthrift, enjoyed cruises and holidays in Malaysia and didn’t have a bank account.
His money came from robberies targeted at vulnerable victims, and lived a life mired in fear, violence, dishonesty and muggings.
Police confirmed Boris and his gang were on their wanted list for allegedly robbing passengers they would have offered transport.
He always kept wads of cash. It would appear there were dozens of victims in total, with some speaking strongly against the gang.
“He used to buy us beer at beer halls and could splash money without hesitation,” one of his friends who declined to be named fearing victimisation, said.
King Fox, as his friends would call him, or just Boris, was one of five people killed in a horror crash on Thursday after their Toyota Raum was involved in a head-on collision with a Muzeya Bus near Zindoga Shopping Centre in Harare last week.
He grew up in Harare’s populous suburb of Mbare with his grandparents and his single mother, Yvonne, his uncle Dereck says.
“He went to George Stark Secondary School here in Mbare, lived here with his grandmother and grandfather.
He was not employed,” Dereck told the Daily News crew at the family quarters yesterday.
Named after Boris Becker, a German tennis champion who was a role model to Mushonga’s mum, according to family sources, Boris was an average student who did not excel in school.
At 23, he already had a family and was dad to a two-year-old daughter with a girl from the vicinity of his Rusike Street in Mbare National.
Two pregnant women invaded the family home on Monday claiming to be mistresses of the late Boris.
There were at least four women linked to him.
“We are reading a lot of stories about Boris, but as far as the family is concerned, he had one wife and a child,” Dereck said.
“I only saw it in papers that they were other women who came to his funeral yesterday, but I did not see them.”
His funeral wake was drama-filled.
As people gathered to bid farewell to Mushonga in Rusike Street, mourners had to scurry for cover after police detectives fired warning shots as they tried to apprehend the alleged robber’s fleeing friends, who are also on the force’s wanted list for various crimes.
Moments before the police’s arrival, friends and associates of the now deceased “robber”, had snatched the coffin to go for a spin, and parade their fallen comrade” in a gangster-style farewell around the populous suburb.
Police, who had staked out the wake to pounce on their targets, arrested nine suspected robbers at the funeral wake, believed to be Boris’ “workmates”. The nine were said to be on the police “wanted list.”
Boris’ family maintained yesterday that their son was not a “hardcore criminal.”
“Boris, as a family, we never knew that he was a hardcore criminal like the late Gift Tyres and Norman Karimanzira. He was just a simple man who lived his life in the ghetto with many friends,” Dereck said.
With the family springing to the young “robber’s” defence, his peers said he was “smart robber” and conman.
“The last time police tried to arrest him, he ran away from them handcuffed,” his friend who declined to be named told the Daily News.
“He was a smart robber who never held any gun or killed anyone in his business,” another friend said.
Amid tales that the robber and conman was loaded, his family yesterday said he only bought food and a few perishables home, with no major assets credited to his name.
According to friends, at one time, he flew to Malaysia to spend his loot, a suggestion refuted by his family.
His accomplices insist that on the day Boris met his death, he had over $20 000 on him and he had left part of the loot at the family house.
His uncle says there was nothing of that sort left in the house.