Although one’s immediate vision of a graveyard might be a dull and lifeless place, the late Mudzidzi Wimbo’s mausoleum is, on the contrary, a burst of colour and fine interior designing.
A mausoleum is a building which contains the grave of a person.
When passing through the gates that leads into the Johane Masowe Vadzidzi VaJesu Church shrine, one’s immediate attention is drawn to a colourful building located at the far end of a huge clearing.
Mudzidzi Wimbo’s shrine is located in Pfute Village under Chief Madziva and is about 20km from Mt Darwin.
Unlike several other buildings dotted across the shrine, this particular building is in a class of its own and stands out from the rest.
A square building with unusually big windows, the first thing that catches the eyes of a visitor is the expensive imported bricks.
A simple calculation tells one that a fortune was spent on acquiring and transporting the bricks from South Africa. Equally captivating is the building’s roof, which is adorned by beautiful and expensive imported roofing material.
Although the outside of the building is equally stunning, it is the interior of the mausoleum that has left many visitors speechless.
Upon taking a step into the building, one is greeted by an unusually shiny floor which is made out of the most refined and purified ceramic, marble and porcelain floor tiles.
Exuding a luxurious appearance, the highly polished floor is not only radiant but unusually smooth.
From the way the floor was perfected, it is abundantly clear that only a highly qualified professional was hired to install this floor, which is made very attractive by the white and coloured marbles. Installing such a floor requires meticulous skill.
The interior walls are as stunning as the floor.
Tiles from different colours were expertly blended to give a perfect match, with a wide variety of patterns.
On this expensively made floor are the graves of Mudzidzi Wimbo and Lensasiminiyo-M (Jester Mhukuta), one of the late cleric’s three wives.
The two graves – all painted in clear white – were expertly-designed with white marbles placed on top.
Expensive wall hangings also adorn the mausoleum.
A special lighting system – complete with special lamps that illuminates particular areas of the building – is also part of these fantastic interior designing efforts.
Mr Shepherd Chingwena, the church spokesperson, explained the rationale behind the construction of this mausoleum, which insiders estimates chewed as much as $70 000.
“This was not planned but came as a very late suggestion from one of our members. We sat down as a church and we agreed on building a mausoleum that befits the great stature of our departed leader,” Chingwena said. “It is okay to lavishly honour the dead.”
A player in the memorial park business has defended the idea of honouring the dead by either acquiring expensive caskets or decent, expensive burial space. A memorial park, otherwise simply known as a cemetery, is a tract of land which is used for burials.
Mr Sasha Chikwanda, the sales and marketing officer of a newly-opened memorial park said the dead must be buried in a dignified and respectable manner.
Asked if it was not a waste of resources to bury people in expensive caskets, Mr Chikwanda said money must never be an issue when considering how best one can bid farewell to loved ones.
“Burying the dead has nothing to do with saving or wasting money. Instead, it is the only way that we can show our dear departed that we honour and respect them,” explained Mr Chikwanda.
Commenting on Mudzidzi Wimbo’s mausoleum, Mr Chikwanda said the late religious leader deserved to be buried in grandeur.
“From what I gathered, he was the leader of a church that has an estimated one million membership. Second, it was the congregants’ wish to accord their leader utmost respect. It is therefore proper for prominent people to be accorded a burial that befit their status,” Mr Chikwanda said.
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