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Council spruces up cemeteries

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BULAWAYO CITY COUNCIL has started sprucing up the city’s cemeteries after residents complained that the graveyards had become an eyesore.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
staff reporter

Cemeteries in Bulawayo had been in a sorry state with tall grass growing and anthills making it difficult for relatives to identify graves of their loved ones.

Most of the graves could only be identified by placards inscribed with the date of birth and death of the deceased protruding through the tall grass exposing visitors to high risks of being bitten by snakes.

A visit to West Park Cemetery to the west of North End showed evidence of the local authority slashing and burning grass in a bid to spruce up the graveyard.

Residents and council were locked up in a war over who was responsible for maintaining graveyards with the local authority arguing that it was the responsibility of families of the deceased.

“West Park was now like a jungle and it was difficult to identify the final resting place of your loved ones. It was so sad and this is welcome,” Noleen Moyo from Magwegwe high-density suburb, said.

Rodrick Fayayo, the co-ordinator of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association said: “For some of us, it is about the respect for our departed friends. While it might not have an effect on the dead (sprucing up), it gives us the satisfaction that we still care about our departed.

“In the event that we want to go visit the graves, it is easy to identify them and no one can make a mistake of conducting cultural necessities at the wrong grave.”

Edwin Ndlovu, a former spokesperson of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, weighed in saying council should always strive to maintain graves, but was quick to remind residents not to wait for the local authority.

“Graves must be maintained to show respect for the dead and graves must be identified. The families would also want to conduct rituals at the graves. Therefore, sprucing them up is the way to go,” he said.

“Council must maintain the whole area covering all graves as it owns the place, but relatives must maintain their individual loved ones’ graves.”

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