JUST after dusk as he assembled a pile of firewood for sale by the roadside in the Pine Tree area of Nyanga, Mr Shingirai Shingoriyo, better known as Madzibaba Shingoriyo, heard the sound of a passing vehicle.
However as he instantly raised his head, the vehicle was already more than 100 metres away.
The vehicle disappeared into the curve on a steep slope.
Straight-away, Mr Shingoriyo summoned the three youths who were with him to follow him as the quartet ran after the vehicle.
They knew very well that at such a speed, the vehicle would not be able to safely navigate the curves.
As Mr Shingoriyo had predicted just before disaster struck, the Tynwald School bus veered off the road and overturned before landing on its roof after the driver failed to negotiate the curves.
They were laid to rest at Glen Forest Memorial Park in Harare early this week.
When The Manica Post visited the scene of the accident, the incident was still the talk of the village, with some of the earliest people to arrive at the scene narrating how they saw it unfolding.
Mr Shingoriyo said: “I was here assembling a heap of firewood for sale. It was getting dark and I was facing the ground when I heard a sound of a vehicle passing by. I instantly raised my head, but the vehicle was already more than 100 metres away when l looked up.
“All I managed to see was its back as it disappeared into the curve on a steep slope. I knew it would not negotiate the curve while cruising at that speed. The speed was just too much for this curve. I instantly called the three youths I was with to join me in running after the bus.
“The next thing was a crashing sound. We knew it had been involved in an accident. We rushed to the scene and started helping those who were injured to get out of the bus. We saw some learners who had been thrown out of the bus and were lying lifeless on the ground,” narrated Mr Shingoriyo.
Mr Prosper Mbutsa of Pine Tree Village said they have witnessed seven accidents happening at the same curve in the past three years.
“It is now the seventh accident we have witnessed at this curve in the last three years. However, this has been the first fatal accident. A truck carrying potatoes had an accident here about three years ago.
“A truck carrying timber also went through the same during the same period. We also had an eight-tonne banana truck from Honde Valley that was involved in an accident at the curve. A Toyota Voxy also crashed here two years back.
“A lady driven Toyota Runx and a timber truck were also involved in accidents early this year. All these accidents are attributed to failure to negotiate the curve,” said Mr Mbutsa.
Poor road signage was also blamed for the accidents, with some drivers approaching the curve at high speed due to lack of knowledge of how sharp it is.
A villager in the same area, Mr George Madotsa, said: “This area is a black spot. The situation has been worsened by lack of adequate signage along the slopes that lead to the curves. It would be ideal if the powers that be could place some ripples along the slopes so that motorists are forced reduce their speed.”
When contacted for comment, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Mrs Lucia Kuwandira promised to avail responses to questions sent her but had not done so by the time of going to print.
Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka was also locked up in a meeting.
— Manica Post