A FAMILY from Gutu, Masvingo, is still mourning the death of their first born son, Farai Nyamadzawo, a 22-year-old that reportedly bled to death after he was cut in his underarm when a crowd of looters that he was allegedly a part of caused a melee as they stampeded into a store in Tshabalala, Bulawayo during the violent protests that rocked the country last month.
Although it is unclear how he got involved in the looting spree, those in Tshabalala who claim to have seen him before he was fatally cut suggest that the late Nyamadzawo had been in the forefront when protests turned violent and decided to break into Chicken Corner in Tshabalala Extension.
According to community members who spoke to Sunday News, Nyamadzawo had been pushed against the store’s glass doors when those at the tail of the marauding looters started pushing to get in. However, a childhood friend that he was staying with at the time of his death said no one knew for certain how Nyamadzawo had got injured.
“To tell you the truth no one really knows how he died. I would be lying if I said there is someone that actually has proper details of how he died. No one is saying they saw how it happened. I didn’t see where he was injured but I was told that he had got his hands injured,” said his friend who only identified himself as Roddy.
According to Roddy, the late Nyamadzawo had been an honest young man who had made the trek from Masvingo, where they befriended each other as schoolboys, to Bulawayo in search of greener pastures.
After finding work at a local lodge, he had been recently laid off and had found himself without a place to stay in Bulawayo before his old friend bailed him out and gave him shelter.
“He was someone that came to Bulawayo to work. So when he lost his job, he did not have anywhere else to stay. That’s when my roommate suggested that he comes to stay with us while he was looking for a job. That’s how he found himself staying with us,” he said.
Roddy said his late friend had earlier on indicated that he wanted to stay indoors when the violence erupted and was still confused about what had prompted him to venture outside when it was clear that the situation was tense.
“He was a very good person and I even remember the morning that he died. On that morning when the violence was about to get serious my roommate told both of us to sit down and relax because the situation was tense and if we go out we might get injured. I remember him saying that even if he was a builder or doing any kind of job he would not go to work in a situation like that even though it might cost him money.
Even now I don’t understand what possessed him to go out that day. It was a shock an hour later to hear that he had passed on,” he said.
Almost a month since his friend passed on in such an unlikely and painful manner, Roddy said he was still finding it hard to come to terms with his demise. Nyamadzawo’s father, Mr Saruro Nyamadzawo said he was told that his son had bled to death after failing to get medical treatment on time.
He said when he was injured, he was initially discovered in Tshabalala by his uncle, Mr Rodrick Makoni, who was told that Nyamadzawo was in a ditch somewhere in the high density suburb and had to frantically start searching for him. In the end his rescue attempts had been a little too late and Mr Nyamadzawo revealed that a post-mortem had revealed that his son had been pierced by a sharp object below his armpit.
As a result of his untimely passing the family who had no money at that time had to mobilise resources from as far as South Africa from other family members to assist in his burial. Nyamadzawo was buried in Gutu on 19 January.
“Due to his untimely death we had to seek assistance from our relatives as far as South Africa who chipped in financially to help to ferry the body of to his resting place in Masvingo. As the father to the late I am also pained by the loss of my son at such a tender age. It’s even more painful when you consider that he was the first born,” said Mr Nyamadzawo.
Another death reported in Bulawayo was of a police officer who was attacked by rioters, and arrests have been made in connection with the murder case.