From Freedom Mutanda in Chipinge and Kudzai Matanga in Rusape
THREE people, including the acting deputy school head of Chikore High School in Chipinge Ms Anna Alufanette Phiri (43) died on Monday, while eight others were injured in a horrific car accident near Rusape, along the Harare-Mutare highway.
Ms Phiri was on her way from Harare after graduating from the University of Zimbabwe with a Master’s degree in Business Administration, when the vehicle she was travelling in experienced a tyre burst and overturned, approximately 25 km from Rusape town.
Manicaland police deputy provincial spokesperson Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda confirmed the accident and identified the other two victims as James Mudimu (29) and Adela Mukwanda (32).
“I confirm an accident involving a Toyota Granvia vehicle which was heading towards Mutare along the Harare-Mutare highway. Investigations are still underway as to what could have caused the accident but so far it is suspected to be a tyre burst resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle,’’ he said.
Chikore High School staff members and students reacted to the demise of Ms Phiri with shock and grief. They described her as ever smiling, diligent and an outstanding individual who always thought about others’ needs above hers.
School head Mrs Stella Mudiwa was visibly shaken after receiving news of the untimely death of her colleague. The two had navigated the Chikore High School ship as Siamese twins.
“This is a big blow to me. We have been together in the trenches for quite some time and I am failing to come to terms with this piece of news. I only wish that Ms Phiri’s family will come to grips with the loss which came when we were all waiting here to celebrate her achievement,’’ she said.
A family friend, Mrs Flaven Tendai Mataruka described Ms Phiri as outstanding, and recounted how she had empowered herself by doing activities outside her teaching profession such as hair dressing and cake making, which made her a household name in Chipinge.
“Anna’s father, the late Reverend Phiri of the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe frequented our home and that is when I met this ever smiling girl who was really good with her hands. I am devastated. At times one’s whys never get an answer. May her soul rest in eternal peace,’’ she bemoaned.
Former school mate Mr Sifelani Tonje who knew Ms Phiri from their Chikore High School years said the woman was the embodiment of humility notwithstanding her many attributes and skills.
“Anna embodied humility yet exuded confidence. She was a symbol of hope for the many a marginalised girl child. She was a chorister par excellence and her sweet voice soothed the soul. Her flawless command of the English language was amazing. She defied subject choice stereotype and enrolled for a commercial degree. She was so enamoured to it that she took it up to Master’s and mastered it.’’
Ms Phiri is survived by siblings Emmanuel, Esther, Cleopatra and Joseph. She was buried in Harare yesterday (Thursday). She obtained a diploma in education in 2002, a Business Studies degree in 2012 and an MBA in 2019.