It might be 50 days after Michelle “Moana” Amuli’s death, but her father, Ishmael, is still failing to come to terms with her horrific demise.
Although Moana featured in a number of videos, it is her appearance in Jah Prayzah’s “Munyaradzi” that created a buzz and catapulted her to fame.
However, her moment in the sun was short-lived, as she died in a car accident in the early hours of Sunday, November 8, 2020. The accident also claimed the lives of socialite Genius Kadungure, Limumba Karim and Elisha.
Moana’s burial was not without its fair share of controversy as her estranged parents haggled over how she would be buried.
It only took the intervention of the court to settle the dispute.
She might have been buried, but her father is still grieving.
Ishmael Amuli told The Sunday Mail Society that his daughter’s death has cast a shadow over this year’s festive season.
“It has been some time now since we buried her, but my heart still bleeds in such a way that sometimes I find myself in tears,” he said.
“For two years we were not on talking terms, but at least I knew she was out there. I wish we had mended our relationship earlier, maybe she would not have died.”
Moana, who was born in 1994, was Amuli and Yolanda Kuvaoga’s first born child.
He, however, had another daughter from a previous relationship.
Being of a Muslim background, Amuli said from the onset, his union with Kuvaoga was rocky as she loved drinking and smoking.
She would often leave Moana under the care of her maternal grandmother who lived close by, as she went drinking at a nearby shebeen while Amuli was away at work.
By the time Moana was eight months old, her mother abandoned her and relocated to Marondera before moving to South Africa.
This forced Amuli, who by then worked at Hot Bread Bakeries, to grant custody of baby Moana to the grandmother.
“She betrayed me but I still loved my then youthful wife, hence I tried to convince her to come back home, but she refused,” he said.
Amuli would provide supplementary milk and other provisions for his daughter.
However, the grandmother tragically died when Moana was three years old and had to move back in with her father.
“That was tough. I would clean up, feed her and leave her under the care of neighbours before going to work,” he remembers.
In 1999, Amuli remarried before enrolling Moana at Highfield’s Zororo Centre that same year.
In 2000, she proceeded to Kudzanai Primary and Highfield High 2 for Form One and Form Two before transferring to Kopas Secondary when the family relocated to Kuwadzana.
Managing only two Ordinary Level passes, she was forced to repeat at Face to Face Academy.
It is during her days at the college that she eloped with Kuwadzana lover, Lloyd Chipomho.
The union resulted in the birth of Tyra — their only daughter.
“It was devastating when she fell pregnant, but being the only parent in her life, I had to be there for her,” he said.
“Later, she joined Greenworld Network Marketing and as things went well for her, the union with Chipomho fell apart.”
Amuli, who by that time had relocated to Domboshava, took in Moana’s daughter.
She would visit and provide for the upkeep of her daughter until she ventured into music.
The father was not happy with her newly chosen path but she was adamant.
On December 23, 2018, father and daughter clashed after the former tried talking her out of her chosen career.
She subsequently took her daughter away.
That was the last time the two communicated.
“I slapped her that day. That is the last time I ever saw her alive and it kills me to realise it is now too late. I should have saved her earlier,” reminisces Amuli.
“When she became famous, the mother returned from South Africa and they were now very close, which leaves me thinking that she misled her to death.”
He still has not yet forgiven his estranged wife.
Kuvaoga was recently at Amuli’s Domboshava residence where she wreaked havoc.
“Moana’s daughter was here for two weeks, so when she heard that the kid was here, she came with a commuter omnibus full of thugs to assault me,” fumed Amuli.
“I am bitter. First, she abandoned our daughter at a time that she really needed a mother only to emerge years later and lead her to the grave.
“This may have been a bad example to her siblings but we all have learnt so much from it.”
Amuli said he will not be part of the memorial service that Kuvaoga has planned for Moana in Highfield.
Moana’s stepmother weighed in: “I came into the picture when she was still five and growing up. Moana was a well-disciplined girl. I accompanied her to school on her first day and watched her grow.
“Giving birth to Tyra, she knew how to be a good mother, but things just turned for the worse when she rose to fame. It hurts that she is gone.”