The mystery that shrouded mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire's burial continues to stalk her, a year after her death.

Following the strange burial arrangements, which saw her coffin being denied entry into the family's Bluff Hill home where she lived and the failure by family, friends and fans to conduct body-viewing, one would think all would be well by now, a year later.

But, alas, a year after the revered traditional music queen passed on after a short illness, a memorial service is still to be held.

Her estate remains unresolved and the house, in which she lived, is still being occupied by a maid, who lived with Chiwoniso until her death on July 24 last year.

Traditionally in Zimbabwe, a year after someone's death a ritual to appease the spirit of the dead (kurova guva) or simply the unveiling of a tombstone is done.

But according to the late singer's aunt, Tete Ellen Maraire Chiteteru, the ceremony will have to wait another year.

However, this has caused the family to come under attack from the late singer's fans and friends, who are accusing the Maraire family of failing to honour Chiwoniso's traditional values.

A close friend of the late Chiwoniso who declined to be named said she wondered how the family did not feel ashamed of themselves, especially after the arts industry has decided to honour Chiwoniso with the first ever Book Café Hall of Fame.

"We saw how they desecrated her memory by denying the body entry to the family home, keeping the coffin in the car at their rural home and refusing to allow for body-viewing. Now they are ignoring everything that she believed in by not even conducting a memorial service," fumed the friend.

However, Tete Ellen clarified the issue, saying there was nothing the family here in Zimbabwe could do without the deceased's children.

“We are waiting for her children who are in school in the United States of America. So we are likely to do it next year. Our traditions do not allow us to carry out such important cultural matters without her children being present,” she explained.

Tete Ellen was quick to add that the delay in the proper handling of the deceased's estate and failure to carry out certain rituals is purely due to the fact that the family is scattered around the world and co-ordination is difficult.

“There is no mystery or anything in this. Our family is scattered around the world, her children are in school and we cannot disturb their education with constant travels – so we have to plan and wait for an appropriate time for everything to be settled at once.”

Chiwoniso's children with her late husband Andy Brown – Chengeto (18) and Chiedza (15) — live in Dallas with their aunt, Taona, who is the late singer's younger sister.

The two, great mbira players and singers as well, are expected to carry on their mother's legacy.

Born on March 5 1976 in Olympia, Washington, Chiwoniso died after a short illness at Chitungwiza Hospital on July 24 last year in 2013. She was the daughter of Dumisani Maraire, a mbira master and teacher whom she returned to Zimbabwe with from the United States when she was seven years old.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.