By AFP Fact Check
VIRAL social media posts and articles have claimed that Zimbabwean businessman and socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, who recently died in a car crash, bought his own coffin adorned with a green guitar a week before his death.
However, this claim is false; his friends confirmed they bought him a casket engraved with Versace’s Medusa logo, which can be seen in footage showing the collection of his body from a funeral home.
Kadungure died in the early hours of November 8, 2020, along with three other people, in a car crash on Liberation Legacy Way (also known as Borrowdale Road) in Harare, Zimbabwe. He had been at a birthday party for one of his friends, who was among the fatalities.
Their vehicle collided with another car, veered off the road, and hit a tree before catching alight. Close friend Tinotenda “Dj Rimo” Marimo, who was following behind Kadungure, recounted the incident in a video interview.
Kadungure, 36, was the founder of a gas company and a nightclub owner who lived a lavish lifestyle which he showcased on Instagram. Since his death, social media users have speculated about how he acquired his wealth and whether he knew he was going to die.
This Facebook post on November 9, 2020, shared more than 120 times, reads: “Shocking reports emerge: Ginimbi had bought his coffin a week before his death.”
The posts include the picture of an extravagant casket designed with an army-green guitar atop.
An old photo
However, a reverse image search of the casket on TinEye shows that the picture has been online since at least 2019. It can be seen in this article, published on June 14, 2019, by Australia’s ABC News, about the “unique items” people are buried with. The image was captured by ABC News journalist Sophie Meixner.
AFP Fact Check contacted Ronald Muzambe, also known as Rondon (pictured here on the left in one of Kadungure’s Instagram posts), who is a Dubai-based socialite and a spokesman representing friends of Kadungure. He refuted claims that Kadungure bought his own coffin a week before he died.
“That was rhetoric, basically due to the fact that he’s such a public figure,” said Muzambe. “I think there are just people using stunts to appear to have been super close to him, so in that regard, they are using any form of channel just to communicate information in an effort to become relevant — but there was no coffin bought prior to his passing.”
In fact, he says, the coffin Kadungure was buried in was bought by his close friends after his death.
“It was a joint effort where we all decided to say we need to give him the send-off that he deserves and his favourite brand was Versace, so we decided to go for the Versace design,” said Muzambe.
Stories had circulated that Zimbabwe’s Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation Deputy Minister Tino Machakaire would be purchasing a “Versace coffin” for Kadungare. Muzambe said the deputy minister was indeed among the group of friends who pooled together to buy the coffin.
The custom-made coffin from South Africa was gold and silver with Versace’s Medusa design engraved on it.
After being shared in a few closed groups, the pictures made their way into the public sphere.
“They were not supposed to be leaked; again it becomes a question of people being relevant. A friend visited the site just to confirm and make sure the design was as per our specifications,” said Muzambe.
The same Versace-themed casket can be seen in videos and pictures taken at Doves Funeral Services on November 13, 2020, where Kadungure’s body was collected by family and friends. ■