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Ray Phiri's wife finding it hard to cope

By Lesley Mofokeng | 2017-07-14 09:47:28.0

Rabelani Phiri, the widow of Ray Phiri, is said to be very saddened and finding it hard to cope with the death of her husband.

The 25-year-old married Phiri last year and they have an eight-month-old daughter.

Phiri was admitted in the Nelspruit Mediclinic last week Tuesday and was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away on Wednesday morning, which was a shock, as he was not frail. He was 70.

Paul Nkanyane, the family spokesman, said in terms of culture, Rabelani was not allowed to make public statements.

"She is well supported by Ray's older and mature children as well as the uncles. Her aunt is also here as well as her father.

"She doesn't talk much about her loss, but as a family we have spoken about their daughter and how she will be raised."

Nkanyane said the family was too busy with the preparations of the burial to mourn.

"The funeral is getting bigger than what we had anticipated. The government has stepped in and is taking over with the special provincial funeral. We have had no chance to stop and grieve."

Phiri's best friend, Sherrif Molefe, said even though the Phiri family was not happy about the shifting of the memorial service and funeral, they awere trying to cope with the extended days of mourning.

Nkanyane said the initial funeral arrangements had been announced.

The latest details are that the memorial service will be held on Thursday and the funeral on Saturday July 22.

Both events will be held at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Nkanyane said Phiri's elderly mother, whom he said was 112 years old, was informed of her son's passing yesterday.

"We sent a delegation to her house, including professionals and social workers, to help manage the situation."

Asked if Phiri's mother was the one of the oldest people in the country, Nkanyane said her elder brother, Phiri's uncle, was 120. - Additional reporting by Mandla Khoza

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