Whinsley Masara Chronicle Reporter—
SIX members of the same family miraculously cheated death after their home was reduced to ashes by lightning on Wednesday evening in Nkayi. The incident occurred at around 6PM. Thunywa Gumbo, 40, of Dimpamiwa, under chief Tshugulu said he had a frightening lifetime experience at his homestead. “It’s one of those things that I’ll never forget. I have heard of lightning but had never seen it strike. We thank the Lord for surviving such an incident. I still can’t believe that that we were thrown out of the kitchen hut, escaping such a disaster,” said Gumbo.
One of the neighbours, who declined to be named, said she saw lightning flashes, but did not realise it had struck Gumbo’s homestead, only to see his two huts in flames.
Dimpamiwa Village head, Benjamin Mpofu, pleaded with well-wishers to help the family. “We are even more worried about the three school children because they need to be back to school as soon as possible,” he said.
Nkayi District administrator, Mandlamakhulu Moyo, said family members were left with only the clothes they were wearing when tragedy struck.
“It is sad to see a man’s tears fall as he narrates what transpired. Gumbo said he still can’t really say what happened except that they saw a flame through the thatch, and at that very moment, they were all thrown out of the hut which was already ablaze,” said Moyo.
The DA said neighbours said there was nothing they could have done to salvage the family’s property as within seconds, their two huts were in flames. “The family lost entirely everything, remaining with only the clothes they were wearing. On Thursday, as a team of District Civil Protection, we visited the family and they have only one hut which had been thatched by the community,” said the Nkayi DA.
“We sourced maize for them from the Grain Marketing Board and two local families donated some clothes. The Red Cross has also sent someone to go and collect some tents which were at their offices in Tsholotsho so that the family gets temporal shelter.” He said they also hope to get a few tents for 12 families whose homes were destroyed in December by a storm.
The affected families live in Gwitshi area under Chief Nkalakatha. “It’s sad to note that, while the rest of the country cries for the rains, most residents in Nkayi tremble when they see signs of coming rains in fear of the end results,” said the DA.