Traumatised model pours her heart out

COLLIN KANONGE (seen here lending moral support to his girlfriend Tafadzwa): “I will continue supporting my girlfriend, I love her so much and after all this has happened, my love for her is now much stronger  . . .”

COLLIN KANONGE (seen here lending moral support to his girlfriend Tafadzwa): “I will continue supporting my girlfriend, I love her so much and after all this has happened, my love for her is now much stronger . . .”

Tendai Rupapa and Ellah Mukwati
SHE was called all sorts of names, received death threats, assaulted, laughed at and humiliated by people from all corners of the world for a crime she did not commit. For two nights, she slept in an uncomfortable cell alongside other suspects. Newspaper headlines and bills screamed her name and the “crime” she had allegedly committed. While other people have nightmares when they go to bed, hers began on the morning of Tuesday February 23, when she discovered that her name was plastered on several social networks, all for the wrong reasons.

Today, Tafadzwa Mushunje of Harare’s Glen Norah high-density suburb who was last week accused of injecting her lover’s three-year-old son with HIV infected blood is a victor.

While the courts have cleared her of the alleged crime, she believes it will take a miracle for her to recover from the trauma. Mushunje, together with the toddler tested HIV negative, prompting the State to withdraw charges against her.

Play the video below

Yesterday, she opened up to The Herald and could not hold back tears as she narrated how her life took a dramatic turn, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

In the company of her identical twin, Takudzwa, her boyfriend Collin Kanonge, paternal aunt Fungai Mushunje and her lawyer Fungai Chimwamurombe, Tafadzwa said she was devastated.

What shocked her most was how she was judged on social media when the allegations went viral and also when police arrested her.

“I was surprised to wake up with loads of messages on my cellphone from people I did not know. They insulted me and called me a husband snatcher. They said that I had infected my boyfriend’s three-year-old son with HIV. I was shocked because I did not know where this was coming from.

“That is when Takudzwa came to me and told me that our uncle had told her to read a story posted on a website called Musvo Zimbabwe. We then read what had been posted and laughed about it thinking it was a joke. When the story went viral, and when the messages on my phone piled, I realised that it was a serious issue,” she said.

Tafadzwa said the first person she told was her boyfriend, Collin, who advised her that they should make a report to the police.

She, however, said they did not know who was behind the malice hence it was difficult to make a proper police report.

“Later that day I received a message from Tracy (baby’s mother) asking me why I had infected her son, she called me all sorts of names. Her (Tracy’s) mother also sent me messages threatening to make my life miserable adding that she was going to kill me,” she alleged.

Later that evening, Tracy allegedly went to Tafadzwa’s house in the company of the police and a group of people. Tafadzwa was arrested.

“Imagine I was whisked away to the police cells with the mob calling me names,” she said while crying uncontrollably.

Collin, who sat next to her throughout the interview, calmed her down and she continued.

“I was taken to Glen Norah Police Station and my family was ordered to remain outside. Tracy, police officers and myself sat in the office.

“The police asked me if I knew anything about the issue and I told them I was in the dark. They further asked where I had sourced the injection from. I told them that I did not know anything about it. Suddenly Tracy stood up and started assaulting me, I was helpless; all I could do was to cry,” she said.

She added that her family rushed into the office when they heard Tracy insulting and assaulting her.

“They quizzed the police why they were letting Tracy assault me.

“My family advised me to make an assault report against Tracy and a docket was opened,” she explained.

Both Tracy and Tafadzwa spent the first night behind bars.

“We both appeared in court on Thursday, Tracy was charged with assault while I faced a more serious charge of deliberate transmission of HIV.

“Tracy will be back in court on Friday,” she said.

Tafadzwa said this was not their first bad encounter as before the media lashing, Tracy had threatened her.

At one point, she said, Tracy sent her threatening messages saying she would make sure that she got bad publicity.

Tafadzwa added that she loved Collin’s son with all her heart and would never do anything to hurt him.

But, it is love that Tracy never saw as ironically, Tafadzwa was arrested on the child’s birthday after spending a fun- filled day with him and Collin.

“The day I was arrested was the child’s birthday and I spent time with him and his father at Tamba Tamba Children’s Playcentre at Chisipite. The previous weekend we had spent the day buying the child birthday gifts. I love this child.

“I am grateful to people who stood by me especially my family and the Kanonges and, above all, God who rescued me,” she said.

She added: “When the story came out nobody wanted to be associated with me, so I have learnt that family will never leave you no matter what. My friends abandoned me and they were asking each other if it was true. Some even doubted my innocence.

“The society was too quick to judge me. They judged me yet I was the victim.”

With tears trickling down her cheeks, her twin sister, Takudzwa, interjected: “Imagine for two days she was not eating as she was in police cells. I did not eat either for those two days and at one point I asked the police if I could be with her in the cells but they said it was impossible.”

Collin said the whole incident was a big blow to his relationship with Tafadzwa adding he understood what she was going through.

He said he never legally or customarily married Tracy but only sired a child with her three years ago.

“I will continue supporting my girlfriend, I love her so much and after all this has happened, my love for her is now much stronger. I knew these were all lies because we had been tested for HIV on January 8 this year as our New Year’s resolution,” he revealed.

Collin explained that his relationship with Tracy was not rosy adding that they have a pending matter at the Civil Court where he is seeking a peace order against her.

Tafadzwa’s aunt, Fungai, said she stood by her niece because she knew her hands were clean.

“We are leaving the matter in our lawyer’s hands, he will tell us the way forward. The truth is we were deeply hurt. My niece was traumatised, but only God knows,” she said.

Tafadzwa’s lawyer, Mr Chimwamurombe, said he was not going to pre-empt their next move but hinted that very soon they would approach the courts.

“Everyone has the right to be protected at law. I believe inasmuch as it seems to be hard to point the name of the person who caused this, we are in the process of identifying the person behind all this,” he said.

While the storm seems to have calmed, Tafadzwa says she still has a daunting task – one of clearing her name for the Internet footprint has tarnished her image.

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  • Idiot

    Tafadzwa nyarara

    • Madzibaba Chokurongerwa

      @herald online. I have 10mill pounds reward,for anyone who can provide me with the twin sister’s phone number. To Tafadzwa,now you can understand, what our fellow Zimbabweans, are going through, in Zimbabwean prisons,not everyone who is in prison is guilty,some are in jail for their religious beliefs.

      • Why should Tafadzwa understand about what fellow Zimbabweans are going through? Are you suggesting that she should now start advocating for them? Religious beliefs? Muri kureva ana Gumbura here? Let him find his own way out of jail. Here there was a clear case of the police arresting before investigation. The facts spoke for themselves, and the truth set her free. If someone’s insistence on following religious beliefs that go against the laws of the country cause them to break the law, then they will have to bear the cross for those religious beliefs.

        • Mai2

          Nhai zvinei naTafadzwa izvozvo? Ko ivo madzibaba vadii kuenda kujeri in solidarity with those who are wrongfully convicted!

          Sorry Taffi I can tbegin to imagine the trauma you went thru. Sorry mwanangu. May God continue to grant you the strength to carry on.

  • Judas Iscariot

    If the Herald had interviewed this young lady,and her boyfriend,before publishing the story,i wouldn’t have been too quick to judge. The report sounded as if, it was based on hard evidence,rather than hearsay from social media. I feel for this young lady,whose image has been tarnished. To Tafadzwa i say i’m sorry. From now on,i will be careful,about treating articles from the media, as if they’re based on facts,especially the random stuff, they get from facebook. To Collin, i say this is what happens, when you make girls pregnant, and dump them for attractive models. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.

    • Mike

      Very poor Journalism – copy and paste, i think Herald should be sued.
      Very poor Police work too, Guilty till proven Innocent is what was used here, locked up the lady, left her to be assaulted by the other woman(While in police custody).

  • Masimba Musodza

    The website is run by a woman who calls herself Viomak, and is only her latest enterprise. She has been in trouble a few times in the past because of her cyberbullying and harassment, but she also has many followers. Since she is based in the United Kingdom, I think the way forward is through the justice system here. I think there is a strong case for cyberbullying, revenge porn and extortion (She demanded US$800 to take down a story about another alleged deliberate spreader of the HIV)
    At the same time, I feel that maggots like her only thrive where there is rotting flesh. Zimbabweans use social media for the most depraved, the basest forms of “entertainment.” If most Zimbabweans using social media were not interested in such filth, sites like Musvo would not exist.

    • Mamvemve

      Masimba Musodza, the problem is our media,I I’m not on social media,yet i’m exposed to such filth, from our national newspapers, like the Herald. This is where i read the story, if Herald had not picked up on it, then it would not have reached as many readers.

      • Masimba Musodza

        I don’t think the Herald will rush to acknowledge its own role in the matter. Perhaps they will not be using Musvo as a source of news again.

    • Handei Tione!

      So VioMak runs Musvo Zimbabwe nhai? Inga anokonzeresa. Zimbabweans are an embarrassing lot. This story made some of the news stations in the US. Vanenge vachingoti, “Yah, good, sanction them. They’re animals anyway”.

    • Chikuyochisamarengu

      True that Masimba, I have been to this Website called Musvo, haiite! Vanozviti tiri kuita name and shame vanhu vakaipa, but most of it is Cyberbullying, revenge porn and extortion, as you mentioned! This web owner needs to be sued!

  • David_Zim

    That is what they did to Gumbura no difference. The rape cases based on lies and so is the riot case. The media can literally destroy someone’s life. High tech lynching

  • Tinovaziva

    I refrained from making comments over the issue but I am still ashamed of myself for thinking if it was untrue then newspapers would not have published it. I am sorry and will try not to make this mistake again.

  • Masimba Musodza

    At the same time, the State was right to investigate the allegations.

    • Zivai Ndlovu

      true, but the presumption of innocence until proven guilty was thrown out of the window. as usual the police will arrest to investigate, instead of arresting when they are reasonably sure that there is a case at law. It tells a lot about the state that the accused was assaulted at a police station. how should this allowed if we have law and order in this country?

  • muongorori

    When i first read the story, it was said that a friend of Tafadzwa’s is the one who alleted the mother about the offence. Who is this friend?

  • Ngwenayasvinura

    Iwe mfana Koreni, chiroora mkadzi uyu, pane kungoti rudo rwasimba apa uchikwira. Haaa,aa maa mhani.

  • chinos

    This is a reflection of the judiciary system which is being used to tarnish other people’s images. I really wonder what the investigating officer did during his investigations and what the prosecutors saw in this docket to land on the magistrate’s desk. I am really curious as to evidence submitted to the court to warrant prosecution. How can someone be accused of murder when there is no corpse to prove the murder. I sympathise with the mother, especially when you consider that every mother is expected to take action when she gets a report of abuse but our law enforcement agencies should ensure that the law is enforced. Now, a host of people’s lives will never be the same but the investigating officer is given a new case to investigate since this one is closed

  • musek

    Police should investigate to arrest and not the other way round.

  • Jonzo

    This Musvo stupid website have destroyed many people’s life mxaa.. Heartless people
    Something should be done to stop this

  • the condemned

    God is the healer and comforter.

  • John Madhiri

    Chirungu chake chinosvota … mnx

  • moses

    Our authorities, what do you say?

  • moses

    What good is there in seeing a fellow Zimbabwean suffering?

    She had not done anything wrong, at least the police and all relevant authorities could have done all necessary procedures to investigate what transpired. Well, we see the authorities that are supposed to be protecting the innocent, well dressed up looking intelligent and reasonable taking part in tormenting people like Tafadzwa Mushunje. Really, would you want the same to happen to your flesh and blood? Please people let’s not be that wicked. The devil was never created devilish until he lost his integrity. Do not try and impress us by uniforms please police, do your jobs properly. Why did you have to call T.M all those names as if you had evidence? Is it because the civilians are defenceless? Just to be honest with you, God in heaven is watching. What goes around comes around. We may not live to witness the day you will pay for what you are doing, but certainly some will testify. I really understand that there are some police officers who are loyal and transparent who does their jobs properly; to them I say well done and do not be polluted with them that are the children of Satan. God bless you Zimbabwe…tendeukai mubve pazvakaipa.

  • Cecil Roars

    This is a case that would get the attention of our law makers if Zimbabwe worked. Based on reports from newspapers and the complaint the police went on to arrest this lady and subject her to the inhuman treatment in police cells.
    Not that I am against the police, because our police training is one meant to produce hard hearted and emotionally free animals. The training has produced criminals because they lack understanding of basic human rights.

    I said of Zimbabwe was functional then the law makers would debate the arrests and I’ll treatment of citizens without investigations having been completed. Was it not possible to invite the lady to report to the police station and get her statement and let her go pending further investigations?
    I am sorry for this lady and those around her who feel humiliated.

  • TTM

    @Heraldonline where is my comment?

    • theheraldonline

      Which one TTM? Kindly repost if it is missing, but we have not deleted anything by TTM.

  • Munyai

    Where there is smoke there is fire

  • karombe

    munhu anongoti i love the child. if she actully loved the child, she would refer to the child by name. boyfriend ndiyo yakatobwaira zvayo mwana achioneswa nhamo ne gold digger. ari kuda kuti mwana afe otangisa yake mhuri. ndiyo mentality yemadzimai echipiri, destroying what the first wife started. ndiro rinonzi godo remudzimai. so deep. so destructive

  • Ttrymore Mpofu

    thats wat u get for taking someones man

  • Allyson

    Further proof (as if any were needed) that niggers are not the same as human beings. The video of the shenigger waving its paws around is rather amusing, too bad the cops didn’t put it down when they had the chance.

  • Masimba Musodza

    Yes, that was me. Her telling everyone that I was working for the CIO and Zanu-PF on a campaign to terrorize her was beginning to impact on my professional life in the real world. I even posted a spoof document purporting to be from the CIO identifying me as the operative assigned to work on Viomak. (anyone with brains can see that it is meant to be a joke, but someone in the comments section even wrote that they had known it all along that I was a secret agent) All I can say is that life in the Diaspora is proving much harder than many Zimbabweans can cope, and they are going mad in strange and exciting ways.

  • Masimba Musodza

    That was me.

  • Dube

    Did u want them to write about Mugabe ?

    • Mapfupa evakauraiwa

      not mugabe but something better

    • Mapfupa evakauraiwa