Miracle Op at Mpilo hospital. . . Surgeons remove axe buried in man’s head

Mr Sipho Ndebele

Mr Sipho Ndebele

Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
A-31-YEAR-OLD man from Nkayi who had an axe stuck in his skull, endured more than 160km of bumpy roads to hospital where it was removed 14 hours later.

The man who was lucky to survive, had the axe delicately hanging just millimetres from his brain matter and other vital blood veins. The doctors said it was a miracle that he survived.

Mr Sipho Ndebele from Zenka Area, under chief Tshugulu was axed by a fellow herdsman Adam Ncube (20) on Monday around 10AM.

Mr Ndebele had allegedly ordered Ncube to look after his cattle and Ncube refused.

An altercation ensued leading to Ncube attacking Mr Ndebele with the axe which he left stuck in his head.

Ncube then fled from the scene leaving an unconscious Mr Ndebele lying in a a pool of blood.

Villagers who thought Mr Ndebele was already dead however took him to Zenka Clinic in a scotch cart and to their surprise nurses said he was still alive.

“The nurses said they could not attempt to remove the axe because doing so was very risky.  They instead rushed him to Nkayi District Hospital with the axe still stuck into his skull,” said Mrs Lwazi Moyo.

Staff at Nkayi District Hospital also said they did not have the capacity to remove the axe and referred him to Mpilo Central Hospital which is 150 kilometres away.

The doctors at Mpilo removed the axe 14 hours later following an operation. After the operation, Mr Ndebele was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was discharged yesterday.

In an interview, Mr Ndebele said doctors told him it was a miracle the axe missed vital blood vessels which could have led to bleeding into the brain which is fatal.

“I can’t really remember much as I drifted in and out of consciousness most of the time. What I remember is the excruciating pain,” said Mr Ndebele.

He said doctors told him that the axe went through the bone and rested on the brain matter.

Mr Sipho Ndebele recovers at the Mpilo Hospital ICU

Mr Sipho Ndebele recovers at the Mpilo Hospital ICU

“The  doctors said the operation was so delicate that any slight mistake could have killed me. They said if the axe had moved a fraction of a millimetre deeper, or to the left or right I could have died,” said Mr Ndebele who was able to sit up.

He said a friend took his pictures while he was unconscious with the axe still stuck in his head.

The pictures, including one of an X-Ray of the axe embedded in his head, have since gone viral.

Speaking between gasps, Mr Ndebele added: “It is a miracle to have an axe stuck deep into your skull for more than half a day and still survive. Also considering the state of the Nkayi- Bulawayo Road, it was tough and painful to have someone hold the axe in position so that it does not cause further damage”.

He said he was grateful to Mpilo Central Hospital staff for believing he could be saved when most people had lost hope.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said patient-doctor confidentiality prevented him from commenting in detail.

“I can only say I am happy he made it. He is unbelievably lucky. Members of the public should not attack each other with weapons as it leads to unnecessary loss of life,” said Dr Ngwenya.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Eglon Nkala said Ncube had been arrested and was assisting police with investigations.

“Police arrested Ncube on the same day he attacked Mr Ndebele following a manhunt,” he said.


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  • shacks

    my god

    • nompu

      uNdebele uvukile kwabafileyo, njenge mvana kankulunkulu

  • zamo

    My ndebele brothers let’s stop this violence thing.

    • Bazaku Nanka


    • Say it

      Uthini lawe nsweli

    • jotham

      ndebeles are good at this game

      • N S

        What about Shonas, what are they good at, kurovesana nezvidhoma.

    • bh

      Eish Ndoda, vele sidume ngakho

    • bh

      But ngiyayithanda indlela okufake ngayo

  • Zwangendaba

    Why ddnt we hv the Helicopter to fly him to Byo or Gweru?

    • Junior

      maybe there was no communication.

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      We can manage to have such things maybe 30 yrs from now ‘ now sisempini yezomnotho .

    • xamu uyisilima shame!

      Wena Khone, akuyeke ukuwumana!

    • phephisiwe

      the helicopter only appears if there is a riot for example that year when there was a riot in Beitbridge within some minutes a helicopter had arrived kkkkk to deal with’ jamuka’

  • Mthwakazi

    If Mpilo doctors posted x ray of an axe stuck in this man’s head without his consent, they should be charged.

    • fortuneteller

      Into enhle iyabukwa. It won’t hurt you to appreciate a good deed.

      • Sdubulamabhunu

        Lawe mthwakazi kanti ulunywa yokuyini
        Uli lawyer yini

    • Say it

      Lawe lawe bafo always on negative side akubuke okuhle. What if pic was taken by members of public

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      You need sirius deliverance ‘

    • theza

      it is not the doctors the man says it is his friend in the article

  • Cetshwayo

    May God bless these doctors for saving a life. Alleluia.

  • Mqabuko

    This story it sounded better when you put it in as a breaking news yesterday

  • Junior

    Glory to God. at least he survived

  • Greatstuufman

    Great stuff.

  • #matute

    now we get murder cases everyday in our lives….bulawayo

  • Madzibaba Bhawureni

    Great gratitude to medical personals who worked tirelessly on this mission to save this dude.

  • makhosi

    This is not a miracle for me. Struck with an axe and the brain is not affected. Doctors remove axe, no big deal.

    • nda

      ikhanda li sensitive

      • makhosi

        A miracle is defined as “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.” Everything was well explained by doctors that it was close to fatality. That’s not a miracle!! Editor trying sell his paper

  • Essexvale

    Mpilo Hospital has often received publicity for the wrong reasons. Yet this is a feat that the institution can well be proud of! My thoughts are on the ardours journey that the precariously injured Mr Ndebele had to endure (considering the current state of our roads). It is indeed a miracle that He survived the ordeal. Mr Ndebele is a brave fighter; and that’s probably the reason why he survived. Congratulations to the medical staff at Mpilo who attended to this particular emergency !! Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether the removal of the axe from the victim’s head qualifies as a miracle operation, It is a fairly simple and routine procedure conducted In properly capacitated hospitals globally, although I do admit that Mr Ndebele’s survival under the circumstances was indeed a miracle. Wonder what Dr Do Little thoughts are about this?

  • Tonde the Original

    I now call on authorities to add axes to the list of banned weapons in matebele land. A Tommy wearing Southerner with an Okapi is bad enough but it looks like axes are now their weapon of choice!

    • *****

      Corny humour that invites huge yawns ….. Take a look at your cheap metal encrusted plastic Chinese manufactured foot-wear beneath electric yellow “don’t touch me” trousers and your disease wracked privates encased in garish underwear with the blue & white Chelsea motif, before making stupid references to other’s choice of clothing … you silly, silly boy !!

  • Gneral

    The man is extremely lucky that he had some good Harare trained doctors on call!

    • dax

      You are so dull bro

      • *****

        Why call this sh*t a brother hey? He’s a silly foreigner who has nothing vaguely in common with you or me; besides perhaps skin colour and forcedly shared geographic boundaries.

  • reggie

    I dont think it should be called a miracle but its what our doctors can do. What we should label as a miracle is the ability of people to treat. The heading should have brought the positive aspects of our medical institutions so that we get value as well as attract partners to improve further our health systems. To the people involved in the successful procedures, well done. Please keep that up.

  • brazozo mangena

    Ndebele has been given another chance of life….may the always so good Lord bless all who helped take him to Mpilo AND Mpilo staff ”u dd well”….Zimbabwe has good people…lets all continue helping others especially along the highways….rural areas etc

    • MakhosiXamu

      He must repent and seek God in his life.

  • Tonde The Other

    The murderous spirit lives on! Okapis, amahloka, tommies and panstula should be banned permanently!

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      You can say that again ‘ but it seems as if they have inherited amahloka to their armoury .

  • qembu

    The coordination seems to have been done so well, from the point where he was axed to the Clinic, to the general hospital and finally to Mpilo and perhaps he had to also pass by the Police Station in that state for a Police Report.l wish him a speedy recovery, he should now seek the almighty God now that ‘he saw his hand’

  • donga dilika

    This is the Mpilo l used to know, keep it up

  • Marcus Lacoste

    If I am ever involved in such a scenerio I would rather have a lethal injection and die once for all.No one deserves this sort of pain & the trauma that will follow this man all the days of his life

    • nda

      who told you suicide is the answer, when you will be actually inviting the almighty’s wrath

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      I suggest you find a psychologist ‘ you have issues.

  • makhosi

    Ndebele wena uhle umgamule afe uNcube. Ubefuna ukukubulala phela.

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      Uzamgamulela ngaphi yena ese Khami . Use your msoro

  • khayisa

    Ndebele ngcono ucengacenge uqonda esigodlweni uyedinga amaporofita uyegcotshwa i miracle oil esilondeni

    • Fuhrer

      Rubbish ,you just need to pray not funny oils and all that

  • makhosi

    A miracle is defined as “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.” Everything was well explained by doctors that it was close to fatality. That’s not a miracle!! Editor trying sell his paper to us

    • MkanyaGP

      ….which actually led you to read through the whole text..

    • ChadGom

      It is a miracle that the axe missed the vital organs and tissues that could have resulted in a fatality.

  • Anold Maposa

    Oooooh yes he cares !!! Only happened by the grace of GOD.

    (I can say that again)

  • qondani

    Kuvele kubangwani

  • Ziyabheda

    Sad though it might be,this is a lesson to people like Ndebele that they should not impose their authority over younger persons to do work for them if they are not interested….look now,he almost died for commanding young Ncube to mind cattle for him when Ncube had no wish to do so! In fact Ndebele nearly dug his own grave by showing bully tendencies towards Ncube.

  • Messenger Of God

    May GOD Bless you brother , The Lord GOD JESUS CHRIST saved you. Please could you also forgive that man gor he doednt know what he was doing. Amen. Messenger Of God