Chonco mourns death of lover

By Agiza Hlongwane Time of article published Jan 30, 2011

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A prominent, wealthy KwaZulu-Natal businessman has broken his silence over his long-standing romance with Nelisiwe Majozi, the woman widely believed to have died after fasting for too long.

Millionaire Seshi Chonco, a one-time son-in-law of King Goodwill Zwelithini, poured his heart out to the Sunday Tribune, saying that after the death of the woman he loved, he had spent his days crying, and had also resorted to fasting.

Majozi’s partially decomposed body was found in her Pietermaritzburg flat earlier this month, and there were newspaper reports that she had been fasting non-stop for 40 days.

Following her death, several church leaders warned against the dangers of fasting for extended periods without proper nutrition.

However, Chonco, 52, has dismissed claims that Majozi fasted for 40 days, and also shed new light on how the bible school graduate might have died.

“Not a single human being has died on the fast and bled,” Chonco said.

“There was blood on the floor, all over. She didn’t die because of the fast.”

Chonco, who said he and Majozi had been lovers for the past five years, said Majozi had never fasted for more than a week. And she would always take supplements each day between 6pm and 8pm.

Chonco said he and Majozi had partied and danced the December holidays away.

Chonco said on the last day he saw Majozi alive, the couple went out to dine in a Pietermaritzburg restaurant, where Chonco ate spaghetti and Majozi had fish and green salad.

“I was with her on January 3. She started fasting on the fourth - and she passed away on the seventh. That is not 40 days.”

Chonco said he had been away on business in Mpumalanga when he received news of Majozi’s death on January 10.

He believes Majozi, 43, could have slipped on the bathroom tiles and fallen, hitting her head on the bathtub.

“She had slipped before, and so have I. I think she fell on to a basin in the bathroom, and her head hit the wall. She was found lying, collapsed. If you fall on your head, you’ll be handicapped or collapsed. I think she was unable to turn herself because she was weak (from the fast). There’s no dispute that she was weak, and then she started bleeding.”

Majozi was known to fast regularly and often prayed for the well-being of others. Chonco said she had quit her full-time job at a medical aid company in La Lucia in 2007, opting to follow her calling to study theology and serve God. She graduated from the Union Bible Institute in November and was poised to become a youth ministry leader at her church.

At Majozi’s home in Pietermaritzburg’s Mbali township, photographs of her taken on her graduation day take pride of place on the sitting room walls. Dressed in black mourning attire, her mother, Florence Majozi, said, “My child had not been fasting for 40 days. It was just her time to go.” She and other members of the family declined to comment further.

Police spokeswoman Superintendent Joey Jeevan said she could not divulge results of the coroner’s report.

“The post mortem has been released to the family,” she said.

Speaking from his sea-facing mansion in Umdloti this week, Chonco put on a brave face, even flashing a smile. He said he was distraught by Majozi’s death, and felt surrounded by death, having lost his 17-year-old daughter in a road accident in 2006.

“I’ve lost someone precious for the second time. I’m enveloped by the pain of death. She was a beautiful person.

“I think she’s in heaven, I think she’s just resting there, for the way she lived. But then I don’t know anyone who lived in heaven. I honestly don’t know. I’m just hoping that somebody can answer that. I wait for somebody to confirm if these angels are in heaven.”

Chonco said that after Majozi’s funeral last Saturday, he had fasted for three days, “just to get an idea of what she was going through.

“I’ve been crying, although they say a man doesn’t cry. It’s a big loss, not just for me, it’s a big loss for a lot of people. The church was full to capacity at her funeral. You had people from Cape Town, from Johannesburg, who studied with her. It’s a big loss for the young people in the church. They loved her so much and she loved them so much.”

Chonco described Majozi as “funky, very funky and very funny. But she would come across as very serious when it came to matters Christian.

“I loved her a lot. She was special to me, and she’ll always be.”

Pretoria-based Chonco is a “rags-to-riches” businessman who soared from working as a gardener in Pietermaritzburg in the 1970s to become a director on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange by 1997.

On completing a degree in law and economics from the University of Zululand in 1979, Chonco was awarded a Fullbright scholarship and did his honours at the University of California in the US before returning to South Africa for a PhD.

After lecturing at the University of California, Michigan State University and several South African universities, Chonco started working in the corporate sector, advising on business strategy.

He has been a managing director of the state-owned arms manufacturer, Denel, and was general manager at Sasol and executive director of Caltex Oil. He holds active directorships in several companies, including in the footwear, security and telecommunications industries.

In a glitzy wedding in 2005, Chonco married Zulu Princess Nombuso.

However, the couple divorced two years later, with Chonco citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Chonco said he did not regard himself as being unlucky in love.

“It has worked somewhere, and it hasn’t worked elsewhere.” - Tribune

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