By Panashe Makufa
Harare – RELATIVES and friends of the late Pengaudzoke frontman Daiton Somanje who succumbed to suspected meningitis on Tuesday at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare yesterday barred journalists from attending the musician’s funeral at his Marondera home. The family accused the media of unfair reporting on the late musician’s issues.
Both State and private media journalists, who had gone for the funeral were called names, shouted at before being denied entry into House no. 3704, Museve Street, Rusike Phase 1 in Marondera where mourners are gathered.
Chaos erupted as journalists arrived at the house, before the late Somanje’s niece identified as Amai Panashe hurled insults and threatened violence if the media did not leave.
“You are not welcome here; you have not been fair in your reportage on issues regarding my uncles Josphat and Daiton. How can you say Josphat failed to secure bus fare to visit his brother who was in hospital in Harare?” she quipped.
“How can you report that Daiton’s illness united this family? Have we been disunited before? Get away before we beat you up! You are not going to enter through this gate. We need peace here!”
However, things got worse when one of the neighbours who claimed to be a Zanu PF youth began mobilising the youths nearby to beat up the journalists.
Few people attended the funeral wake in Rusike yesterday afternoon with few relatives and neighbours seen milling around the late musician’s residence.
Meanwhile, in Harare, a sombre atmosphere yesterday characterised Daiton’s residence on Shingai Street, Dzivaresekwa 3, where scores of people temporarily gathered to mourn the death of veteran sungura musician. The Tsaona hitmaker who died at the age of 50 will be laid to rest in Marondera today.
The musician’s second wife identified as Esther Musango was too traumatised to speak to the media while a family spokesperson identified as James could not be reached for comment.
Daiton’s eldest son Faheem told NewsDay that the singer’s body was expected to leave Harare yesterday for Marondera by road for burial
“We are yet to come up with a decision as a family since the body is still at the mortuary, but if everything goes well, the body will leave Harare today (yesterday) for burial tomorrow (today) in Marondera,” Faheem said.
Some of the people and fellow artistes who spoke to NewsDay in Dzivaresekwa said they were saddened by Daiton’s death and the huge void he had left in the music fraternity.
Veteran musician, Shepherd Chinyani said; “We had hope in him. He was a good man and even if a person did not know him they knew him by name. He was a respectable and supportive man who not only helped people succeed in one way or another, but encouraged them in their line of work. He was instrumental in building careers of a number of musicians.”
Syndicate girls dance group founder Wasu (real name Precious Makwame) said she has lost a great person-cum-mentor.
“Daiton was the first person to teach me about music from my debut album Loly to my second one which I was closely working with him due for release soon,” Wasu said. “He was not helping us financially, but his advice helped me a lot. He was actually supposed to help me come up with the title of my second album.”