Zimbabwe: Family Not Aware of Rutendo Go Fund Campaign

The family of talented theatre, literature and performing arts actress Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu has called upon the public to respect their privacy as they grieve over the death of their beloved daughter.

This comes as some friends in the entertainment sector, created a Go-Fund platform ostensibly to raise money for the funeral of Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu who passed away in South Africa at the age of 38.

However, her uncle Mr Oswald Chigudu Mashonganyika said the family requires privacy, not charity as they make arrangements for the burial of their daughter.

"It is a crime, we do not know about it neither any of the so-called friends told us about the funding process. I want to know who initiated that and whom did they consult. I urge people to stop donating because it is not us, but some people trying to use our daughter's name for their benefit. To the public I say this is fraud and when things go bad you know where to complain about this," he said.

Mashonganyika, who is an uncle to Rutendo, said they are currently waiting for the post-mortem results.

"Her father died in 2008 and I was the one who took care of her. She was staying with my cousin in South Africa. I arrived here in South Africa on Saturday to discuss the funeral arrangements with family members.

We have been receiving calls and have seen fliers on social media about funds mobilisation for our daughter. It signals a wrong message as a family that maybe something is going on or we are poor that we can't afford to bury our daughter. Why can't people respect us," he said.

The Go-Fund fliers have the contact details of Rutendo's friends as well as their banking details.

Affectionately known as R Tendo, Rutendo collapsed and died last week in South Africa.

She is survived by two children.

The Go-Fund that is dubbed "R.Tendo Tapiwa Funeral Contributions" has so far raised £393 with a target of £4 500.

But the family would rather mourn their child in peace as they arrange to have her interred either in South Africa or here in Zimbabwe.

"We had a meeting and as you know it was a weekend and nothing much can be deliberated as we wait for the postmortem which is going to be conducted today (Monday). We will furnish you with the details."

"We spoke with her husband to organise a passport for the other child. If their mother is to be buried in South Africa, then we wait for that but if not we will update you. Rutendo's mother travelled to Pretoria from Cape Town and we are all in agreement in our decision making," he said.

He said if there are any contributions needed they will alert the world after a decision has been made.

Rutendo's other uncle professor Daniel Chigudu reiterated that he was also in shock with the Go Fund developments.

"I had spoken to Mashonganyika before he left and we were still in contact on what we should do. This is a danger and a challenge to us because we do not even know about the campaign nor have we met the so-called friends. What about accountability? Is it a profitable thing or what? We haven't heard about it and it is embarrassing for us," he said.

He also dismissed rumours that the funeral wake is at the Grange and Rusape.

"Nothing of the sort is like that. People are just coming to pay their last respects. There is no gathering at all the mentioned venues. The people in Rusape told them to stay there. I was at the Grange this afternoon (Sunday) and no crowd was there. People should not be misled and be very careful.

"If there is a table of contributions we will let the media know. We do not want to work with pledges and right now we are relying on information from South Africa," he said.

It remains a mystery on what and how the Go Fund will work.

Who then is going to accept the funds since the family has distanced themselves from it?

Moreover what of those who pledged, where will the money go?

At the time of death, Rutendo was studying towards a Masters degree in Applied Drama at Wits University in South Africa.

She is well known for her role in the solo act in "Rujeko", where she acted as a mentally disturbed deaf woman who lived in the park.

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