Moana burial: A Muslim who pushed drugs to raise his daughter; a mother who abandoned an 18 month toddler

Moana funeral

While death brings out the best and worst in families, the demise of fitness trainer Mitchel ‘Moana’ Amuli has gone a notch higher and kept Zimbabweans at the edge of their seats.

A long held resentment between her parents – Ishmael Amuli and ex-wife Yolanda Kuvaoga – has provided a last opportunity to settle scores.

Close family members say the two met in a club when Kuvaoga was just 14-years-old.

The flaming romance would soon whither when Kuvaoga walked out leaving Amuli to take care of an 18 months old toddler, Amuli says.

To get by, Amuli turned to selling drugs.

Now a devout Muslim, Amuli was quick to note that everyone has a dark past and people change.

“Well, whatever I did in the past was for the best interest of my children including Mitchel. I have since left all that behind me,” he told Zim Morning Post.

In Highfield where he was nicknamed Mdara Shoes in his heydays, because of his great speed in evading police, a former neighbour says Amuli operated at base called the ‘Poverty Corner,’ which still exists to this day.

“Mdara Shoes was one of the biggest Jazzman (street lingua for drug dealer) in Zororo and he was known for his great speed when running away from police,” narrated a former neighbour.

It’s an uncomfortable question that irritates Amuli.

“Why are you asking me that nonsense when I’m mourning my daughter? Boys imimi makujairira (you are disrespecting me),” Amuli jibed when confronted about the incident.

“You should be asking her mother where she was when I worked hard doing anything that brings money to raise my kids. She was enjoying life in South Africa when I was busy changing Mitchel’s diapers, have you ever wiped poop? Why do you think her child Tyra uses Amuli surname, Mitchel knew her roots,” he said.

Moana’s mother recently left tongues wagging after she appeared in court allegedly wearing Moana’s clothes before the ceremony for dispensing the deceased’s clothes had been conducted.

Kuvaoga told reporters the dress had been bought for her by her daughter. She claimed to have possessed the same flair, taste and penchant for fashion as had Moana.

Perhaps she is right that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Moana had just celebrated her 26th birthday when the Roll Royce Wraith that was being driven by Genius ‘Ginimbi’ Kadungure crashed and burst into flames along the Borrowdale Road in the capital in early November.

A free spirited belle whose club hopping might have been influenced by the primary socialisation process she underwent at the rudimentary stage of her life.

After raising his children, through drug peddling, Mdara Shoes went into retirement in the late 90s and relocated to Domboshava where he is currently based.

He is now a devout Muslim after undergoing a behavioural metamorphosis.  

He has not shied away from championing his Islamic beliefs and has been demanding an Islamic burial which his ex-wife has contested at every turn insisting her daughter deserves a celebrity burial in tandem with the life she lived.

On Friday morning, High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda dismissed the application by Kuvaoga to have the existing burial order taken by Amuli cancelled.

He added that Moana did not openly renounce Islam from 2013 when she became an adult, and that her partying lifestyle alone was not enough evidence that she had renounced Muslim values.

Kuvaoga dad sought an interdict to direct the registrar-general to issue a new burial order designating Zororo Memorial Park as Moana’s final resting place.

In court, Yolanda had argued “my daughter was into alcohol. She had many friends and frequented entertainment spots. I want her funeral to be held in a way that will allow her friends to give her a send-off which tallies with her lifestyle.”

Amuli wanted Moana to be buried at Warren Hills Cemetery and in accordance with Muslim values.


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