A 32-year-old Masvingo woman allegedly poisoned six children, including her two children and their cousin, before taking her own life after having a dispute with her mother and going for two days without eating.
Angeline Mabhiza (32) of Nago Village under Headman Nemarundwi, killed the other three children who had visited her homestead intending to ask for water to drink.
Mabhiza and three of the children, Taurai (7), Leon (6) and Farai (2) died on Monday last week shortly after drinking a chemical believed to be a pesticide.
Farai, according to relatives, was found dead by pupils from Nemarundwi Secondary School, while Leon, Mabhiza and Taurai were alive, but frothing while lying down at the homestead.
Mabhiza, Taurai and Farai were buried on Wednesday in Zimuto, while Leon was buried at his mother Loveness Rukave’s home in Zaka District.
Last Friday, close relatives said prior to the tragedy, Mabhiza had gone for two days without eating following a dispute with her mother.
“Two days before she died, Angeline had not eaten anything after she had a dispute with her mother Nyunyuto Mabhiza over the children,” said a relative. “This could be the cause of the tragedy. When Nyunyuto went away, we suspect she took advantage of the situation to poison the children before taking her own life.” The relative said Mabhiza had three cases of baby dumping, two in 2011 and one in 2012.
The relative said Mabhiza gave birth to Farai soon after serving a community service sentence for infanticide in 2012.
Our Bulawayo Bureau visited the family on Friday and was told that Mabhiza’s mother Nyunyuto was away with other family members to consult traditional healers over the tragedy.
When she returned shortly after the arrival of the news crew, Nyunyuto declined to be interviewed.
“There is nothing I can tell you, I was not there when it happened,” she said.
“I do not entertain the media and you cannot force me to talk.”
Her daughter-in-law Talent Wapindami, who expressed shock over the tragedy, said it could have been better if Mabhiza had killed herself and left the children.
“I wonder what crept into her head which saw her also poisoning someone’s child,” said Wapindami.