DZ pool of death claims another victim

 

HARARE - A sombre atmosphere engulfed Dzivaresekwa last week as family, friends and relatives paid their last respects to 16-year-old boy Tinashe Mlambo — who drowned in a disused pit in the high density suburb last Sunday, the latest to be killed in what is now being dubbed the “pool of death”.

The deep well has accounted for an increasing number of drowning deaths, with four deaths in the last few years.

Locals blame mermaids for the deaths, and allege authorities are involved in a conspiracy to cover-up the creatures’ existence in the pool, itself a result of brick-moulding activities in the area.

The latest victim, is a Form Three student at Corridors of Hope Academy. He breathed his last Sunday afternoon when he, a well-known non-swimmer, dove into the “pool of death” to try his luck having long observed his little brother enjoying the swim in the same water body. It ended tragically.

His grandfather — Ali Edward — shared his devastation with the Daily News on Sunday crew who had spent the night before the burial at the funeral.

“He was a very bright student in school and usually passed with As in most subjects. In terms of extra-curricular activities, he was well-known for spinning and turning but he was never a swimmer. It was rather a surprise that he found himself at that pool.

“It’s a tragic death, we are all hurt at this point in time and surely it will take us ages to come to terms with this sad reality,” Edward told the Daily News on Sunday.

Corridors of Hope students all made a bee-line first at the Mlambo residence and later at the gravesite, a more painful experience when one remembers the hope that lay in the young life that was plucked away before it had even realised its prime.

While the burial was taking place, works to seal off the “pool of death” were also in progress at Tiger Bricks.

This followed a seven-day ultimatum by the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to close the pit or risk closure of their business.

Tiger Bricks were given a quotation to provide a coffin valued at $3 500, transport in form of bus hire amounting to $210 that was being charged at $10 over a 21km radius and hearse $168 charged at $8 for the same radius.

The brick-moulding company were also charged $500 for dressing the deceased with the figure all coming down to a total of $4 378 which they obliged and paid to facilitate the funeral arrangements but no amount of compensation would bring back the life short-circuited.

“Some of his friends who were around said he was shouting that he was being pulled down by someone or something holding his legs, very mysterious though that they all ran away, leaving him to face his own fate.

“We can’t blame anyone for this because for starters, he was never a swimmer and what took him to that pit remains largely a shocking mystery to all of us,” Edward added.

“We are grateful for their (Tiger Bricks) generosity through helping out with funeral expenses but no matter how commendable this act may be that will never be able to bring back to life my grandson but such is life kana wainzi sarura waunoda kuti azviitirwe waida kuti zviitirwe ani (Who would you have wanted to be visited by that calamity)?

“We just have to accept it and pray that the Lord we serve will be able to comfort us all who are grieving during this darkest hour.”

Residents have, however, linked the death of Tinashe to mermaids whom they believe inhabit the pit as he is not the only one to have lost his life there.

They, however, said they would want compensation in the form of development levy from all the companies running the brick-moulding business in the Dzivaresekwa area.

Following Mlambo’s drowning, family members, close relatives and friends made a vigil at the pit of death the whole night but they could not see the body of their
departed son.

Early in the morning around 3am, they said they saw a dark cloud and a heavy wind that nearly blew away all gathered into the pit.

They said the water rose suddenly before hitting back into the pit in a rolling form — quite strange and mysterious — but still there was no sign of Mlambo.

The sub aqua crew arrived at the scene around 8am and it took them at least an hour of diving and searching for the deceased’s body.

Mlambo’s mother was overwhelmed with emotion and too distraught to talk, referring all correspondence to an elderly woman who was only referred to as Gogo.

“There is something that is attracting children to this place, we suspect there is a mermaid that is attracting young boys to this place”, said Gogo.

“Something enters this dam in the form of a heavy wind and dust and comes out like that again.”

Residents claim the firms are not doing enough in the form of reclamation of the environment they would have drawn profits from.

A number of brick-moulding firms operate in the area, including Tiger Bricks, Pre-Dawn, Britech, Golden Bricks and S and M among others.

Besides, they also claim, they hardly consider employees’ safety in their operations.

Nehanda Housing Cooperative vice chairperson Nyimai Chabata, the custodians of the land on which all these companies are operating, took a swipe at them, demanding that they play a pivotal role in the development of the area.

“Residents are not benefiting anything from these companies. What they are only getting from the partnership are injuries from the dilapidated machines and open pits and gullies they are leaving unattended. We have lost many lives from this area and this must come to an end,” Chabata said.

“As a precautionary measure they have to close these pits or use perimeter fence so that kids are not exposed to danger or better still employ security guards who can man the area on a 24/7 basis.”

Former DZ councillor Samuel Garachani took a swipe at Ema for failing to enforce laws pertaining to the environment.

“It is not the children who are at fault but Ema because they are the ones who must enforce laws to ensure that these companies are operating within the confines of the environmental law. We can’t continue losing kids in this sad manner,” said Garachani.


 

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