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    Friday, 23 November 2018

    Black week for Zvishavane

    Memory Matsvimbo and the late Boyd Manhema.

    The late Takudzwa Chaparadza.

    The late Fadzai Chaparadza. 

    TARIRO MACHOKOTO

    ZVISHAVANE – Six people from the small mining town of Zvishavane have so far been established to have died from the Brooklyn Express bus disaster that occurred near West Nicholson in Gwanda District.
    This week there is a funeral wake at almost every corner of the town because the majority of the passengers on the bus were from Zvishavane, where the bus that was going to South Africa started off.
    The disaster accounted for a total of 33 lives, according to the Police.
    Twelve people from the town were injured with four at Gwanda Hospital, four in Bulawayo and four at Zvishavane District Hospital.
      Dumezweni Mawite MP for Zvishavane said auditing of the injured and deceased is still going on at Zvishavane District Administrator’s office.
    The deceased are Takudzwa Chaparadza (23) a recent graduate from Kwekwe Poly , his mother Fadzai Chaparadza (45), a business woman; Maria Chilongo (53) (district head, Ministry of youth), Boyd Manhema, Liverstone Masunda (42), Precious Chapfira (28), Mhurai Moyo, Perseverance Banda (37), Maria Wilson (37).
    “I am at the DA’s office as we speak and we have just been compiling the figures from the accident. We have so far established six dead from the accident and 12 were admitted to hospital.
    “The compilation is still going on and am not sure whether the figure will rise,” said Mawite.
    Some of those discharged from Gwanda Hospital are Josiah Panganayi (40), Tendai Gondwa (35), Ngonidzashe Banda (30) and Ndinaani Zhou (36).
    Zvishavane has been most hit by the accident that President Mnangagwa has since declared a national disaster.  Zvishavane is most affected because the Brooklyn Express bus which was enroute to South Africa starts off from the mining town.
    Hard hit is former Zvishavane Town Council Administrator and businessman Allan Chaparadza. He lost his dear wife Fadzai and his son Takudzwa in the explosion.
    Chaparadza told The Mirror that he was speechless and was overwhelmed by pain.
    Takudzwa is his first son who recently graduated from Kwekwe Polytechnic.
    Chaparadza’s wife and her son had gone to Musina to order clothes for her flee market. Fadzai was a well known business woman in Zvishavane.
    The harrowing part is that Tafadzwa is said to have come out of the bus unscathed. However, he realized that his mother was still in the bus and went back inside but according to survivors just as he did so there was another explosion, which enveloped and killed Tafadzwa.
    A couple’s dream to wed on December 15, 2018 was shattered after Manhema who was to marry Memory Matsvimbo died in the disaster.  Matsvimbo is the spokesperson for CID Zvishavane. The Mirror has gathered that Manhema was actually off to South Africa to buy goods for the wedding.
    Manhema worked as a Prison correctional officer at Zvishavane Prisons. Manhema was from Chivi Growth Point where mourners are gathered as they wait for DNA test results.
    Matsvimbo confirmed the marriage arrangements and said that they only married on October 31, 2018. She said she could not bear the pain of the loss of her husband.
    “We are waiting for confirmation of  DNA tests being carried out in Bulawayo. At the moment, he is just a missing person,” she said as she burst into sobs.
    One of the survivors,  Ncube who works at Ministry of Women Affairs Zvishavane said that the situation was frightful and he was having nightmares. He said he sees horrific pictures of people who were burnt alive.
    “The situation was very painful. We watched and cried  in agony as people were burning inside the bus while we stood helplessly. The temperatures from the fire were  very high and I doubt if the firebrigade would have done much even if it had come”, said Ncube.
    He said that there was a choking smell just before the explosion that smelt like petrol or gas. He said that the smell was coming from the front of the bus and passengers started complaining.
    The driver is said to have then switched on the lights and started slowing down so as to investigate where the smell was coming from.
    He said that before the bus stopped there was a huge explosion and in seconds a huge fire broke out. It quickly spread to the rear of the bus and the flames started just from behind the driver’s seat before engulfing the whole bus.
    He said he managed to come out through the window.
    Zvishavane town council chairperson Khulekhani Ndlovu and other Town Councilors visited the scene.
    Ndlovu said that Zvishavane  is in a state of grief.
    Gladman Njanji from Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said that transportation of gas containers in public transport is prohibited though it is not clear that it was indeed a gas container which exploded. Her also said they are waiting for investigations.
    Mp Mawite said there is no evidence that there were gas containers in the bus because no metal canisters were found at the scene.

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