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Sometime in the late 80s, Stella Matsunguma (45) left her home at Kandega Compound, Crest Breeders Farm for the nearby Mandere Farm where she intended to do some unknown business. Using a footpath in a bushy area, the single mother of four children — John, Johane, Obert and Venencia — intended to return home to her family.

Household chores awaited her that evening and the following morning before going to work, so being home on time was a priority.

She never returned.

Hours, then days and years passed and still there was no sign of Stella. It was as if she had vanished into thin air.

In October this year, a man known as Dread, who is a brick moulder was digging an anthill for clay close to Mukuvisi River basin, Amalinda area in Glen View 7 when he stumbled upon what looked like skeletal remains of a human being. Closer inspection confirmed his worst fears and he dashed to where other brick moulders and stone crushers were.

Upon arrival, Dread is said to have asked for a Madison cigarette.

On being handed the cigarette he said he wanted snuff instead, puzzling his friends.

What followed shocked them.

“Dread said he had discovered human remains and was possessed by the spirit of a woman called Stella.

“He said the bones he stumbled upon were Stella’s and she wanted the world to know how she was murdered,” said Givemore Kanengoni, a stone crusher who at one time worked with Dread.

While possessed, Dread said Stella was brutally murdered and buried on the small hill by robbers.

While in the trance, Dread also claimed Stella was killed by three men who thought she had money.

He also said two of the three alleged murderers, two skipped the country, their crime undetected while another is still in Zimbabwe.

In the trance, Dread revealed more.

He said Stella worked at Crest Breeders and stayed in that company’s compound with her four kids.

“He said Stella’s relatives were in Shamva and that she wanted her bones reburied there,” said Mr Kanengoni.

Scared and confused, Dread’s friends aised him to immediately make a police report.

“Accompanied by the police we went to the scene and dread started picking the bones using his bare hands.

“The bones could not fill a 2kg plastic bag. Weather elements could have moved them as a lot of time had passed. Thirty four years is a long time,” added Kanengoni.

At the grave, Dread still in the trance picked up bones one by one.

“He said this bone is from my head, this one from my leg, hand etc. He picked up a rugged muddy piece of cloth which he identified as the dress Stella wore when her life was cut short,” added Kanengoni.

According to Kanengoni, Stella’s spirit also claimed that her parents were responsible for her murder as they sent evil spirits to haunt her.

After collecting the bones and taking them to a police station, Kanengoni further explained their journey to Crest Breeders, still in the company of the police.

“At Crest Breeders, we asked if anyone knew Stella. A number of elders said they knew of a Stella who disappeared in the late 80’s. While there Dread also said a lot of things that left those who knew Stella dumbfounded,” he added.

A visit to Crest Breeders by The Herald yesterday also revealed that those who knew Stella had no doubt the bones were hers.

Dzikamai Tigere (62), Stella’s relative said both Stella and him were born in Matsunguma village under chief Neshangwe, Chivhu.

Stella’s family then relocated to Bushu Village in Shamva.

Tigere and Stella were to meet up at Crest Breeders where they both worked until the time of her disappearance.

When Stella disappeared, Tigere said they immediately filed a missing person’s report with the police since she had never done that before.

He does not remember which police station the report was made.

“When she disappeared, the first thing that worried us was the welfare of her children. Some of her kids were still in school and only one was married,” he said.

Tigere added they never got any feedback of what could have happened to Stella and the dark cloud hung above their heads since then.

They also did not make any follow up with the police yet Stella’s mysterious disappearance remained the talk of the compound. At one time, gossip had it that she had eloped to Malawi with a lover.

“We worked with a number of Malawi nationals at the farm. Other people naturally thought that she had left with them, I did not,” said Tigere.

Others suggested that she had relocated to another town.

But what worried them most is why she had left her kids alone if the relocation story was true.

Those like Tigere who knew her too well believed that she would never leave her children for anything. Another neighbour Tobias Kangungu (60) said he started working at Crest Breeders in 1980.

He also knew a woman by the name Stella who just vanished from the compound in the late 80’s.

“We never heard about Stella since her disappearance until when a man called Dread claiming to be possessed by her spirit came accompanied by police and a group of men.

“Dread told us how Stella was brutally murdered by three men who buried her body at the spot her remains were found.

“Dread also said a lot of familiar things about Stella and the information filled in the gaps on her disappearance.

“Everyone who knew Stella believed Dread and knew her spirit had indeed risen,” added Kangundu.

Mrs Maud Kangundu also said she and Stella were close and she was shocked when she disappeared.

“We knew Stella and that she suddenly disappeared. What dread said is the truth? We believe the bones that were found were Stella’s. She could not have just walked out on her kids,” she said.

Chipo Hamilton who also stays in the compound said her husband worked with Stella until when she vanished. She like many others also believe the bones are Stella’s.

Dread also led the police to a homestead in Shamva where he claimed Stella’s parents stayed.

But, the “parents” said they did not have a child by the name Stella and neither did they have a missing child, further widening the mystery of the bones.

Whose bones were they when the people who were supposed have the last say disowned them?

Why would those who Stella spend her last days with believe the remains were hers, were the questions that ran the minds of many?

Ever since the bones were discovered the bricks that were moulded by Dread are still at the spot he left them.

“They could have been stolen a long time ago were it not for the bones that were found here. Maybe criminals are afraid of being cursed,” said Kanengoni.

After the incident Dread’s wife took him to their rural home for cleansing.

His current whereabouts are unknown. Many believe he wants to be far away from where he stumbled upon the remains.

While Harare Province police spokesperson Memory Pamire said police had no known record of the incident, those who knew and loved Stella believe the mystery of her disappearance has been solved. They, too, have found closure and sealed the chapter that kept them guessing what could have happened to her.

Source : The Herald