THREE people, including an elderly blind woman, were severely burnt at Nago village in Zvishavane when a coffin caught fire setting a house full of mourners ablaze last Friday.
The mourners who were gathered at Donald Ganyana’s homestead under Chief Masunda are still shocked as to what could have caused this strange occurrence. Villagers said the three were burnt during a stampede as mourners fled the blaze that allegedly erupted from a coffin carrying the remains of a villager Philani Ganyana.
Ganyana’s wife Janet said mourners had been singing until at about 3am when they fell asleep only to be awoken by the burning coffin. She said the house caught fire within a short time.
“We all fell asleep only to wake up with the coffin on fire. The fire started on the coffin’s veil and there was a stampede as people fled,” Janet said.
She said the fire could have been caused by a candle that was probably not put out when mourners went to sleep. “I think a burning candle caused the fire and deny any spiritual ordeal in this case,” she said.
However, villagers said what shocked them most was that the coffin was destroyed by the fire, but the body of the deceased remained intact.
“I think the boy (deceased) was angry. How can a coffin be destroyed by fire and yet the body is not burnt?” a villager Tapuwa Kosvoro, who witnessed the incident, said.
Chipile Chisweto, one of the mourners who sustained facial burns, said she was traumatised by the mystery fire.
“What shocked me was that no one could smell the smoke of the fire until the whole coffin and its veil were ablaze and the roof had caught fire,” Chisweto said. Chisweto’s blind sister Lucia Zireva was severely burnt in the process and is currently admitted at the Zvishavane District Hospital where the other two were treated and discharged.
Chief Masunda said he was still investigating the matter with the help of the police. “Investigations are still being conducted, but the case remains a mystery,” he said.