AN emotive and tear jerking atmosphere filled the air at the St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica Parish in Bulawayo yesterday as hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects to Lucia Duve (37) who lost her life in an alleged attack by her boyfriend Tashinga Musonza (29) in Gweru last Monday.
Lucia, a lawyer by profession who was laid to rest yesterday at Umvutsha Cemetery in Bulawayo is alleged to have been brutally murdered in dispute with her pilot boyfriend Musonza. Putting a brave face and fighting back tears, Lucia’s father Mr Godwin Duve expressed shock at the wild animal behaviour exhibited by the alleged perpetrator, saying he only prays that they as a family are able to forgive him.
“I pray that in the future we are able to forgive the perpetrator of this murder because that is what God wants us to do,” he said.
He said the young woman who was about to complete her Masters degree in the field of law had also pledged to take her younger brother Farai upon her completion of her degree to a local college to further his studies. He gave an account of what happened on the fateful day, saying a lot of lies were spread by social media.
“I think all of you want to know what happened as her death was a cause for concern because she did not die of illness. She was killed. Lucia was our only daughter. The injuries that she sustained make an unpleasant narration,” he said.
He went on; “The last moments we spent with her were at the church music competitions that we had in Gweru just recently, when we met she was the usual boisterous Lucy and we took pictures with her together with the choir. We went to her place and had supper and we departed for Bulawayo.
“That was the last time we saw her alive. On 24 November she wanted to come to Bulawayo for her brother’s birthday but discovered she had forgotten her purse with money at home and she had to turn back. Probably if she had come that day she would be alive with us,” he said.
He added that he requested to meet with the pathologist who performed the autopsy on her and hear what could have happened.
“I had seen her in the morgue at Gweru General Hospital, she had a wound on her mouth and some bleeding from her nose. I was hoping that her death was an accident somehow, and not kuti ahh zvangoitikawo munhu arohwa. I could not listen to all of what the pathologist was telling me. You all know Lucia was a small bodied person and did not have enough stamina to withstand the serious blows that she took, to an extent that I asked myself saka anga achirova papi?
“Her injuries include bleeding from nose and mouth, a fractured thumb, trauma to the right side of her neck which was said to have been most likely inflicted by a boot, she had heavy bleeding in her brain and the doctor who opened her up said her brain was full of blood.
“She had bruised lungs and I can’t make out how that happened, she also had trauma to her upper back, she had imitations of numerous blows having been inflicted upon her back. During this conversation I had to ask the doctor, if Lucia’s death was an accident and he said no, it was not a mistake. She had numerous blows all supplied to the upper body and it was severe assault according to the doctor.
“He said the main cause of death was the head injuries and the heavy bleeding that she had in her brain,” he told the packed Cathedral.
“I pray to God that he forgives her for her sins and I also pray to God that he gives us as a family peace. I also pray to God that somewhere in the future with his guidance that we be able to forgive the perpetrator of this murder because that is what our God wants us to do,” he said before retiring to his seat.
Her brother Desderious who came from Canada said his sister was a loving person who never fought with people.
“She was a bubbly person and we had a good relationship the 37 years I had been with her. I last spoke to her the Friday before her death and all was well, I had no clue it would end like this,” he said.
Lucia’s mother was too distraught to speak and her older sister Mrs Dorothy Sostena spoke passionately about her chronicling how they had a good relationship.
“I do not want to imagine what my sister is feeling, I am so broken, Lucia was an intelligent woman who was a free spirit. I do not understand why someone would take away the life of our angel,” she said.
Speaker after speaker spoke highly of Lucia whose life was taken away in a violent manner during a time when the world is commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. The legal fraternity also came in their numbers clad in their gowns to pay their last respects to a dedicated cadre in their field. Just before body viewing the lawyers all stood around Lucy’s casket and saluted her as a way of paying their last respects to one of their own.
The president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe Mr Misheck Hogwe also sent his condolence message to the family.
“We would like to pay our heartfelt condolences to Lucy’s family, friends and relatives and the legal fraternity at large. At the time of her death, we did not have any disciplinary cases against her at LSZ. She was in good standing with us. The manner in which she left this world is so sad to all who fight for safety and freedom of women from violence. The fact that she succumbed to gender-based violence at a time when the world is holding campaigns towards ending violence against women and girls paints a cruel and mortally painful picture. Her death at such a time leaves a bitter taste,” he said in a speech read on his behalf.