The late Zimbabwean national Mbodazwe Banajo “Elvis” Nyathi, who was brutally murdered in a xenophobic attack in South Africa last week was laid to rest at Umvutcha cemetery in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Mourners at Nyathi’s funeral service that was held at the Brethren In Christ Church in New Lobengula called on the Government to fix the economy so that citizens won’t have to migrate to other countries seeking greener pastures.
A family representative, Mphathisi Ndlovu, urged the government to reduce passport fees, pointing out that if Nyathi had a passport his life could have been spared.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, said Nyathi’s brutal murder was painful considering that migration started well before independence. She said:
This was seen by workers who flocked the country to work under the Witswatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA).
Migration has always been in existence with people wanting to look for greener pastures.
If you notice a home that has many people and love, it’s one neighbour or the other who tries to put cracks there. If you are not careful of such devices, the home will be broken apart.
I remember in the early 1980s when there was a conflict in Matabeleland, if there was no leader like Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo who preached unity, the country was going to break because the aim was to have a civil war but that did not happen because of leaders like Nkomo who had the wisdom to unite people.
Nkulumane MP, Kucaca Phulu (CCC), criticised the ANC-led South African Government for its failure to outrightly condemn xenophobia after Nyathi’s death. He said:
ANC is not clear, which is shocking us. The Zimbabwean passport now summarises the indignity we face when we go to other countries.
We must take steps to take our children out of embarrassment when other people look at us.
We need to work on that, meet as political parties and ask ‘what we are doing about our dignity.’
Even if we have political ideological differences we must certainly agree that we need progress for us to move forward.
Pastor Lucky Moyo from Christian Alliance said people should avoid scapegoating each other but find solutions to problems. Said Moyo:
Elvis is a symbol of thousands who have gone to work in neighbouring countries hoping to be able to provide for their families but that dream has turned into a nightmare.
If we say our children must come back, what home are they coming to? We are not here to apportion blame, nor make uncomfortable or provocative statements but to address these issues.
Nyathi (43) is survived by his wife, Nomsa Tshuma and four children.