Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
A 58-YEAR-OLD man allegedly drowned while show-boating swimming skills that he claimed he acquired crossing dangerous rivers in neighbouring Botswana.
Bhekelani Sibanda of Inyathi Cooperative, Ward 14 drowned in Ngwigwizi River in Inyathi at around 1AM on Wednesday while on his way home.
Ward 15 councillor Meluleki Sibanda said Sibanda was drunk at the time.
“He was walking from Mahamba Business Centre with Gugulethu Sibanda (33) of same area and five unidentified people. They were coming from drinking beer at the business centre,” said Clr Sibanda.
“They found Ngwigwizi River flooded and water was flowing above the bridge.
“There were stuck pedestrians on both sides of the bridge and about six commuter omnibuses and two private vehicles waiting for the floods to subside so that they could cross.”
“Sibanda announced to the waiting crowd and his friends that he was proceeding to cross the flooded river as he used to do so when he was resident in more risky places in Botswana,” he said.
Gugulethu and some others villagers tried to restrain him from crossing but he wouldn’t listen and he crossed heading due east.
In an attempt to show off to the rest of the nervous crowd, he got to the other side but tried to cross back. He was swept away by the floods when he was in the middle of the bridge.
A source said: “Police attended the scene and during investigations of the missing person at around 6PM, information was received from Gugulethu that the missing person had been swept away by floods during the night.”
By yesterday afternoon, police had not yet retrieved the body.
In another incident on the same day at Inyathi, Mduduzi Ndlovu (32) of Silas Hope Farm in Ward 14 allegedly drowned in Khoce River as he was coming from work at Joker Mine.
Ward 14 councillor Cookie Moyo said that Ndlovu knocked off duty at around 8AM on Wednesday and was walking home with workmates when the tragedy occurred.
“When they approached a crossing point at Khoce River, they found the river flooded. Ndlovu insisted he wanted to cross the flooded river but his workmates warned him not to.
“He did not take heed and jumped into the river. He was swept away by heavy currents when he was half way through,” she said.
She warned parents to advise school children to be extra careful and stay in one place when it is raining.
“This year’s rains have resulted in a lot of disasters. I urge pupils to stay at home after heavy rains, especially those who cross rivers and streams.
“In case it rains heavily when they’re at school, I advise that parents arrange that their children put up for the night at other villagers’ homes on that side of the rivers,” said Clr Moyo.