Late former First Lady Janet Banana is set to be buried in rural Esigodini, Matabeleland South with her memorial set for Bulawayo a day earlier.
This was announced Monday by Information Ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana who said, “The Funeral Church Service for the late former First Lady, Mrs Janet Banana will be held this Thursday at 12.30pm at the Methodist Main Street in Bulawayo. The burial will be this Friday in Esigodini.”
Mrs Banana, according to family, had expressed her wishes to be interred next to her husband, who died in 2003 and was buried in Esigodini.
Few will be able to pay their last respects to the country’s founding First Lady after government has limited funerals to just 30 mourners per event.
Mrs Banana died aged 83 in Bulawayo and, just like her husband, was accorded a state assisted funeral.
The country’s First Lady from 1980 to 1987, was the last among spouses of Zimbabwe’s pioneering Presidents and Vice Presidents to pass on.
Former President Robert Mugabe’s first wife Sally, Vice Presidents Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda’s wives, Johanna and Maud, are all gone.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his condolence messages earlier, described the late Mrs Banana as a “mother of our Nation” who “carried herself with simplicity and dignity”.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has weighed in, in his own condolence message to the Banana family, describing the late Former First Lady as a pillar of strength.
“The nation has lost yet another gallant daughter who stood by her husband during the difficult colonial period and arduous struggle for independence.”
He added, “Mrs Banana was as a pillar of strength, a source of inspiration and family cohesion as a mother and First Lady.
“We stand and commiserate with the Banana family in this time of grief and beseech the Almighty to give the family strength in this difficult time. May her dear soul rest in eternal peace.”