Fight over singer's corpse at funeral

The late popular Limpopo gospel musician Phineas Molamodi Maenetja, 40, who died in a motorbike accident, has finally been laid to rest.
The late popular Limpopo gospel musician Phineas Molamodi Maenetja, 40, who died in a motorbike accident, has finally been laid to rest.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Drama unfolded at the funeral of the late Limpopo gospel artist Phineas Maenetja when his wife and his mother fought over where the funeral service should be held.

Police were called in to quell a possible outbreak of violence between the two families of his wife Maria Mokgotho and mother Rachael Maenetja .

The funeral service programme was cut short after Mokgotho wanted to take the body of the artist from the house of his parents in Molepo village to her house in Ga-Thoka near Turfloop.

The fight flew in the face of the out-of-court settlement reached by the two families on Monday after a week-long war over who had the right to bury the musician.

Mokgotho claimed that she was the artist's customary wife and had the right to bury him while his mother also claimed she was legible to bury him as the former was just a girlfriend.

Mokgotho was granted an interdict from the Limpopo High Court to stop his mother from burying the singer but the mother appealed the verdict.

The appeal was supposed to have been heard in the same court on Tuesday but the hearing was aborted after the intervention of Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha's office.

Mphosa Mashabela, who was appointed to coordinate the funeral, said it was dogged by more controversy.

He said as per the settlement, the body of the deceased was taken to Ga-Thoka for a short ritual before it was taken to Molepo for the funeral service.

But, instead, the widow demanded that they offload the casket for a full service.

He said all hell broke loose when they refused to accede to Mokgotho's demands and drove off to Molepo, leaving behind Mokgotho and hundreds of mourners.

"To our shock, Maria came to Molepo accompanied by police and they wanted to take the corpse back to Ga-Thoka.

'We had already started with the programme when she arrived with the police and many other people. I phoned government officials and they advised me to cut the programme short and proceed to the cemetery.

"Mokgotho refused a seat that was allocated to her at the cemetery. But we are glad that we were able to bury this soldier despite this drama," Mashabela said.

Attempts to solicit comment from the families drew a blank.

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