Villagers unmask mysterious life of ‘businessman by day, robber by night’ Limukani Khupe’s sports bar at Homestead business centre

Bruce Ndlovu

WHEN Limukani Khupe reportedly stumbled into Homestead Rural Health Clinic, two months back with a hole in his hand from what seemed like a gunshot wound, staff at the institution were at a loss about what to do.

Khupe was bleeding profusely and, with every drop of blood that flowed down his arm, in critical danger of losing his life. However, as with every wound that might have come from a violent confrontation, staff at the clinic needed to do their due diligence.

Limukani Khupe

After all, this was a gunshot wound, and with that being the case, they needed a police report before they could get back to work and begin the process of nursing Khupe to recovery. 

Time was not on their side however, and as the dawn crept closer, Khupe was increasingly at risk of losing his life. The staff at the clinic had a life and death decision to make. In a close-knit community where everyone knows their neighbour’s favourite dog by its name, it was one that was simple enough to make. They would treat Khupe now, then ask questions later.

This was despite the fact that Khupe’s story appeared to have holes even larger than the one made by the bullet that had passed through his hand. He had heard a suspicious noise in the middle of the night, he told the nurses, and had decided to go and check it out. He was sleeping in a room close to a bottle store, a joint run by his girlfriend at Homestead Business Centre, when he had been rudely woken up and decided to grab his trusted gun. 

Somewhere between his room and the bottle store, Khupe claimed that he had accidentally shot himself in the hand. At the end of his ill-fated search, Khupe failed to find the purported intruder that woke him from his slumber.

As he continued to haemorrhage, the importance of his life triumphed over the authenticity of his story and over the next few days, he was treated by staff at the clinic. 

This was but just one tale told by villagers about the fantastic life of Khupe, a mysterious figure whose name was spoken of in hushed tones on Thursday in Maphisa, Homestead and Sun Yet San in Matabeleland South, where he had links to various businesses.

Khupe was arrested on Wednesday by police for allegedly leading a gang of seven other criminals who reportedly orchestrated a string of violent armed robberies and break-ins in the city. According to police, Khupe was found in possession of a revolver, which is licensed under his name.

Those who spoke to Saturday Chronicle in Maphisa, Homestead and Sun Yet San, described Khupe as a swashbuckling Casanova whose three widely known businesses in the area were ran by his “concubines”.

Some claimed that in light of the allegations against him, his widely known girlfriends may have served as safe havens for him in case of any fallouts resulting from his alleged criminal activities. In Maphisa, other shop proprietors who spoke to Saturday Chronicle said one of Khupe’s businesses located at the shopping centre, a bottle store, was allegedly run by one of his girlfriends, ironically a police officer.

In Homestead, one villager who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while they were shocked by reports that Khupe was an armed robber, his lifestyle made the allegations levelled against him believable.

“There were a lot of red flags that we ignored that seem to make more sense now with everything coming to light. The gunshot wound did not make sense because how does a person shoot themselves with a gun while checking out a minor noise. Before he owned his businesses here, he was said to be a security guard at a mine where he was fired after he allegedly stole,” said the villager.

Another villager claimed that while Khupe seemed to be doing reasonably well, they thought that his businesses were just a cover for some of his more nefarious activities.

“We have been laughing at his girlfriend here because she used to taunt us and use him as an example of a man that is doing well. We now think that he was using his businesses to wash his money because there really wasn’t anything spectacular that was going on there yet he seemed to be doing well,” the villager said.

At Homestead Business Centre, Khupe was the owner of a trendy nightclub, bringing an urban style and flavour to an area lodged deep in the heart of rural Kezi.

In contrast to other buildings at the building centre, Khupe’s nightclub, which bears no branding but was only known by the name of its owner, KoKhupe, is a sleek joint that keeps what would otherwise be a sleepy village awake every night.

According to one villager, Khupe once brought proceedings to a standstill at the nightspot after he shot a few rounds into the air. He had reportedly been phoned in the middle of the night by one of his waitresses after a violent disagreement between patrons. From that day onwards, no one at the business centre dared confront him. 

“If you want to bring girls here later tonight you can do so,” said a youth who spoke to Saturday Chronicle.

“Don’t worry about closing hours. They never close so you can host them for the whole night.”

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