Trained elephant kills handler

The late Mr Enock Kufandada

The late Mr Enock Kufandada

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A 50-year-old man who was employed as an elephant handler by a tour operator in Victoria Falls, was on Saturday trampled to death by one of the elephants.

Tour operators in the resort town said the “freak accident” was a one in a million occurrence as domesticated elephants were not known to kill people.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers shot and killed the elephant.

The bull jumbo was called Mbanje and was used for elephant rides by Adventure Zone, one of the tour operators in Victoria Falls.

Police confirmed the death of Mr Enock Kufandada  of Mkhosana suburb, who was attacked by the domesticated elephant as he prepared to pen it in a bush near his workplace after 2PM.

“I can confirm that we received a report of a man who was attacked by a domesticated elephant,” said police officer commanding Victoria Falls District Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona.

He said Mr Kufandada had gone to round up Mbanje which had been released for grazing with a female jumbo called Nkanyezi after a ride.

The elephants used for rides are usually christened with human names and when barking instructions, handlers call out their names.

The Chronicle visited Mr Kufandada’s home and spoke to his son Shepherd who said his father’s death had come as a great shock.

“We were told that he was with workmates rounding up the elephants when he was attacked,” said Shepherd.

He said yesterday he went with his late father’s workmates to the scene and helped pick up some body parts that were scattered all over the place.

Shepherd said he and his mother Nyasha Manjazi  as well as his five-year-old sibling had lost a  breadwinner.

“We don’t even know what we are going to do. I am at school and he was the only breadwinner,” he said.

Adventure Zone proprietor Mr Brent Williamson said the company received the sad news with deep shock.

“I am in complete shock about the whole incident. It’s with deep regret that we advise everyone that at 2.30pm on Saturday our domesticated elephant bull (Mbanje) charged at one of our staff members and this resulted in our guide losing his life.

“This was one of our learner guides who had been employed with us since July 2005 and was an extremely competent staff member who will sincerely be missed,” said Mr Williamson.

He said investigations were being carried out to establish what transpired.

Mr Kufandada will be buried at his rural home in Mutare.—@ncubeleon.

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  • NedViolaHugoVal

    Please stop offering rides on elephants. Why do people think it is necessary for them to ride on an elephant? These elephants have been brutally trained and are exploited on a daily basis. A man has lost his life . . . senseless.

    • bhinikwa

      Theres nothing wrong with using these trained elephants as long as their conditions are well manaed. Brahman Bulls are well known for reverting back to wild behaviour & killing handlers. It still doesnt stop us from rearing Bull cows. Domesticated dogs such as boerbulls, pitbulls, dobberman have been known to kill humans.

      • taramba

        An elephant is an animal and behaved accordingly …if you keep a lion as a pet dont complain when it become a lion and eats u

      • NedViolaHugoVal

        There’s everything wrong with using elephants for human entertainment and photo ops. These elephants @ Adventure Zone (and other similar oufits) are wild captive animals – not pets, not domesticated. How do you think these elephants are ‘trained’ to allow people to ride on their backs? Please tell us. Here’s a hint: through cruel, and barbaric tactics. The exploitation must stop.

  • Lwendulu

    I am just surprised that the owner of the company acknowledges the elephant by name but refers to the deceased simply as an employee. So the elephant is more important that the man?

    • mmahlaba

      what more can you expect from a Rhodesian? To his company, the elephant meant more than a person. You will even be shocked to learn that despite the dangerous associated with this…this man was only being paid $200.00.

      • white zim

        this is out of respect to his family, as they could not be contacted . so they could name the deceased. not everything is about race.

        • Citizen Joe Bloggs

          That’s your opinion; however I agree fully with the sentiments of mmahlaba (the contributor immediately above your post). Whites in Zim and SA – with the exception of a very few – still bear the arrogance and superiority attitudes that were evident during colonial times. Climb down from your high horse and accept the reality of black rule. Haven’t the land and resource redistribution exercises been adequate lessons to you pale faced beings? By the way; I’m not convinced that you are really a white person. Rather it appears that you are only white under your black skin.

          • makhosi

            You don’t have to be convinced. Just facts.

      • God of War

        You need to go back to school, my friend; your understanding leaves a lot to be desired.

      • WesternApproaches

        A racist statement.

    • Danny

      I don’t see anything wrong with that statement. I think you’re imagining things.

    • Zim – Resident

      Good observation, an employee is seen as a tool of work.

    • English scolar

      I think u are mistaken. The owner referred to the elephant as “our domesticated elephant bull” It is only the journalist or editor who then put it to us that he was referring to Mbanje, hence that name is written in brackets. Those brackets show that it was not direct speech but it was put for us to understand better

    • Musa

      Also says was a trainee since 2005. It boggles the mind!,

  • Father Priest

    An elephant, a lion, a python, hynae (sometimes)… are heavenly sentinells. If mankind sins, Jehovah sends these animals to punish him instantly. A sure sin punishable by death at the hands of lions and elephants is ADULTERY.You dont fornicate around and traverse the bush without meeting your maker. One of these sentinels will receive a call from the maker and they will intercept you and interfere with your breathing mechanism. You will surely die. The Father Priest has preached this sermon over nd over again but those with ears do not want to listen. Woe betides them.

    • makhosi


  • Anonymous Mpofu

    Stop calling them domesticated elephants, those are wild animals, they will never be domestic animals

    • God of War

      I think you need to go back to school and study the english language again, because you are making yourself look silly here.

      • Anonymous Mpofu

        Whats a domesticated animal wena sazi?

        • God of War

          Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that second group.

  • Ofelia Guizzon

    Absolutely appalled that the elephant was killed. The elephant should not have been killed! Humans know the risk of working with animals. The management failed to provide adequate protection for the guide who lost his life as a result yet the elephant is punished? Humans take animals out of their natural habitat then when something like this happens, the animal pays with it’s life. A travesty!