The Death of Tiwone Zvikonyaukwa

28 October 2003

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tiwone Zvikonyaukwa at just 29 years of age. Tiwone died Tuesday, October 28, 2003 at the Wankie Colliery Hospital in Hwange, Zimbabwe. The loving wife of Jasper and mother of Jefta 5, and Maureen 7, Tiwone served as Director of the ROCK of Africa Mission Children's Relief Campaign. She was our hostess at the ROCK of Africa guest chalets and she was a great friend to all that visited ROCK of Africa Mission.

Tiwone died from an apparent infection in her digestive tract. She had been ill for several weeks and had great difficulty eating. After three weeks of hospitalization her condition continued to deteriorate. Suspecting other complications, Tiwone was tested for many other diseases including HIV, which infects one out of three adults in Zimbabwe. All tests came back negative, but she continued to decline. In her weakened condition she had difficulty breathing and was unable to speak. Her husband Jasper kept a vigil at her hospital bedside.

Medicine is in very short supply and due to the severe fuel shortage nationwide, deliveries are quite sporadic. Tiwone was gravely ill was not responding to any medication the hospital had available and the hospital attempted to locate more aggressive antibiotics from medical facilities across Zimbabwe.

On Sunday, October 26 Tiwone's husband, Jasper, personally traveled to Victoria Falls to locate the medicine and deliver it to the hospital. Sunday afternoon Tiwone began responding to the new medication, her condition improved, and by Monday morning she was again able to speak. She continued regaining strength and Monday evening she encouraged Jasper to go back to the mission and tend to the needs of the children. She spent a comfortable Monday night and continued to improve. Tragically, that improvement was brief and Tuesday morning her condition dramatically changed. The hospital attempted to notify Jasper of the rapidly worsening situation, but he could not be reached by phone.

"Do not worry.  I am in the hands of God and my way is prepared."

Jasper & TiwoneUnable to speak with Jasper and sensing her death was eminent, Tiwone jotted down a note to her beloved partner in life and ministry.  She wrote, "Do not worry. I am in the hands of God and my way is prepared.  We will meet again in 'Jerusalem'."  Tiwone died at 11am Tuesday with her sister Sarah and Jasper's brother Josphat at her bedside.  Jasper arrived at the hospital one hour after her death.

Born in Zimbabwe, Tiwone spent much of her childhood living in Malawi until moving back to Zimbabwe permanently nearly ten years ago. God brought her to Gwayi River and the ROCK of Africa Mission, and no one questioned her divine appointment there. Her passion for children was limitless. During this most difficult period of famine she was almost solely responsible for keeping many children alive and healthy. She sought out any children that did not have food and saw to it that they were able to eat. Many children are thriving today because of her passion, diligence, and commitment to serving the "least of these" as Christ commands.

Tiwone is present in many of the photos and videos on this website. In the "Understand the Need" video (featuring Lazarus), it is Tiwone that shares about the severe problems the famine is creating in the region.

God is moving powerfully throughout the region and many, many lives have been transformed. But sadly, tribal roots still run deep in Zimbabwe. Tribal witchdoctors still exist and this move of God is resulting their loss of power and influence. They have repeatedly launched spiritual attacks on this strategically important couple. These assaults have been unusually vigorous over the past few months, but Jasper and Tiwone have stood with confidence on the solid rock of Christ.

Better Medical Care and Medicine is Urgently Needed in Zimbabwe

With the need so great and the workers so few, this loss seems unfathomable.  Tiwone will be impossible to replace.  Her heart and spirit were unique and her loss leaves an enormous hole and our hearts as well as in the ROCK of Africa Mission.  In seeing this beautiful life cut so tragically short, we struggle with the realization that had better medical care and medicine been available Tiwone might have continued her work with the children at ROCK of Africa for many years to come.  Such is the tragedy of Zimbabwe.

A Tiwone Memorial Children's Fund is being established to honor the life and contribution of this extraordinary woman. To give to this fund now with a credit card, select the [Give Now-Online] button on the panel to the left, and mention the Tiwone Memorial Fund in the comment section.  

Tiwone was buried in Kamativi a very rural village about 50km from the mission. In spite of a severe nationwide fuel shortage and most difficult travel conditions over one thousand people attended her funeral. People traveled from as far away as Kariba. This speaks to the enormous impact of this special young woman.

A memorial service was held on December 30, 2003 at ROCK of Africa Mission, Gwayi River, Zimbabwe.

Please pray for Jasper and the children. They need a covering of prayer and support like never before. Daughter Maureen is with Tiwone's mother in the village of Kamativi where she will enroll in school, and Jefta is with Jasper at the mission.

While we all grieve this unthinkable loss, we also celebrate her life. Tiwone's life was a love story -- love for her husband and life's partner, Jasper; love for her two beautiful children; love for every hurting child she met; but most of all, love for her Savior and Lord. Indeed, today Tiwone knows her heavenly reward.

Hear VOICEMAIL MESSAGE from Africa received at 4am informing us of Tiwone's sudden and unexpected death

Read comments & memories of Tiwone


ROCK of Africa Mission is a relief outreach of the World Bible Society a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

"Sympathy is no substitute for action." - Dr. David Livingstone

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