Zimbabweans from all walks of life have taken to social media to express their grief and devastation at the passing away of mbira icon, Chiwonsio Maraire.
Chiwoniso died yesterday, July 24, 2013, at South Medical Clinic in Chitungwiza after suffering from a ten-day lung infection.
The first online reaction, and the one that triggered the tornado of grief across the world, was a tweet from Chiwoniso’s niece, Chipochaishe Maraire (@jus_chipsy), who is based in Florida, USA. She tweeted from her phone at 1944hrs: “Can’t believe my aunt is gone. RIP Chiwoniso Maraire.”
And then at 1957pm she tweeted again: “@lee_eston am also in shock sha . Ma mom jus called to tell me nw nw…”.
After that a barrage of activity ensued on social media with fellow musicians, friends, colleagues and fans posting condolence messages from around the world.
According to social media trends monitor Exist Digital, within a few hours ‘Chiwoniso’ and ‘Maraire’ were trending in Zimbabwe’s Twittersphere. On Facebook too, timelines were filled with pictures and messages remembering this amazing woman.
Here are some of those messages:
Saddened by the departure of Chiwoniso Maraire, an outstanding arts ambassador for Zimbabwe. Unbelievable. May God comfort her family.
Through it all, His mercy endureth forever. Chiwoniso Maraire... I have no idea what to say. Go well. I am hurting. I just thought we still had you for many many years to come.
Poet/ Arts Administrator
They come and live amongst us for a time and what they give we do not see but when they are gone, we start to see and even though we murmur - a little late, not yet... we will have missed the moments to appreciate their work, their humaneness and the value that they gave to life.
Hip Hop Artist
Chiwoniso Maraire - I am going to miss you my good friend. My condolences goes out to your family and our circle of friends.
International Music PR Agent
I'm saddened/shocked/numb to learn of the death of Chiwoniso Maraire - one of the bright lights in the Zimbabwean music landscape... What a character in real life... I will forever cherish those chats. Thank you for sharing... so much! Rest In Perfect Peace my sister!
Author/ African Orchid Specialist
Rest in Peace Chiwoniso Maraire (Chi) You have left too soon.
So if I cry it’s only because I don’t know what to do .... Chiwoniso wandirasa.
Rebecca Zeigler Mano
US Embassy, Harare
Rest in Peace, Chiwoniso Maraire. Zimbabwe has lost another legend.
Former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe
Omg, what is happening veduwe, and now Chiwoniso Chiwoniso Maraire gone too soon, it’s just a week of tears for me.... July is not a good month... damn yoh, I’m speechless veduwe, zvakaoma izvi, ini ndapererwa, asi kuda kwamwari I guess, but we can never get used to death, its just so hard. RIP mbira Queen.
Reigning Zimbabwe International Carnival Queen
R.I.P to the mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire. Your contribution to the growth of the Zimbabwean music industry has paved way for artists who would have never dared to dream. Your spirit lives in your music. WE THANK you, Zorora Murugare.
R Tendo Tapiwa
Until I hear it for myself from an official, I'm in denial. Chi, dead? No ways. Pls let it be some cruel something.
Oslie Muringai Matsikenyeri
Former Miss Zimbabwe
Shocking & sad news indeed. Rest in peace Chiwoniso Maraire.
Chiwonise Maraire dead... mannnn ... how... why... saaaaaad.
Power FM DJ
Oh God why,why why??? Chiwoniso gone? What a terrible loss to the music industry! Famba zvakanaka sista. I am shattered.
Miss Global Zimbabwe & Miss Heritage Zimbabwe Pageant Director
I think am experiencing too many deaths of people I know personally, from my best friend’s mum, my x, my friend, my other friend and now Chiwoniso... All in one month... June-July, deaths and funerals.
Afro Jazz Musician
Chiwoniso Maraire! A combination of voice and SOUL like that is found once in a lifetime. Gutted! May your beautiful soul rest in peace.
Chiwoniso RIP you were one of Zimbabwe greatest songbirds. You were a blessing to this nation. You will be missed.
Chiwoniso Maraire! Oh No! Ndatakura mbira nhaai dzikasarira, not knowing ndozvawafunga. R.I.P. my dear sister and friend. Ndarwadziwa hangu.
Actress/ ZiFM Stereo DJ
Will always remember Chi not just for her music… for my first experience too... Puffs for you Chichi RIP.
Rest in eternal peace my dear sis Chi! Still in shock... Zorora murugare rwaMwari till we meet again...
UPDATED 25 JULY, 2013, 1142hrs
Singer/Chiwoniso's Step Daughter
I went to bed this morning hoping I would awaken to the absence of my cries... then echoing in my head and wallowing in my mouth... But I've woken... It isn't a nightmare... Chiwoniso... our love... our mama... really did pass away last night...
My pillow is drenched with hot tears.. I can literally feel my heart continuing to break beyond self repair... my spirit is weeping... even when my eyes are not.
Chi..she was true love..was?...
I'm trying to accept the idea that she will not hug us again... Smile again... We won't sing together again?... We won't write another song on our bed... or even hear her say "I'm so proud of you my baby, and your Dad would be too," ... to any of us...
Oh Almighty... Most High... Most Merciful... mercy... please?... on the hearts of my little sisters... my Chengeto, Chiedza... my loves... my angels... Wasn't losing our father enough?... mercy... please... on the children... I buried my mom last year yet I can offer no words comforting enough... I will stand with them and pretend to be strong... but I know.. we are all cradled in the arms of pain... mercy... please...
May she rest in peace! Very sad news indeed! An iconic Zimbabwean woman gone too soon! May God's angels sing thee to thy rest.
Editor: Jewel Magazine
R.I.P. Chiwoniso. Our first cover. You are a true Jewel and we will always cherish you. Famba Zvakanaka. Mwari vaita kudakwavo...
Star FM Breakfast Club
Morning show on StarFM Radio
Chiwoniso famba zvakanaka, Chiwoniso tichazomuona. RIP Chiwoniso Maraire.
The music of Chiwoniso rings out across the nation today as we mourn her sudden passing in Chitungwiza last night.