IT is either the people of Hwange in Matabebeland North Province have mastered the art of fighting crocodiles or the reptiles whose sight usually send shivers down the spines of many, have grown weak.
Barely a week after an 11 year-old girl from Hwange Town attracted world attention after she plunged into a stream and jumped on top of a crocodile before gouging its eyes to rescue a nine-year-old friend who had been gripped by the reptile, another resident of the coal mining town, this time a 13-year-old boy from St Mary’s also miraculously escaped from the jaws of a huge crocodile.
This was after the teenage boy, Proud Ngwenya fought the reptile which was trying to drag him under the water by kicking it and stabbing it with a stick while his friend was at hand to pelt it with stones. A Sunday News crew visited Proud at St Patrick’s Hospital last week where he is being treated for injuries he sustained from the bruising battle with the crocodile.
“We were fishing in water at Kalope Dam when I felt some sharp pain as something gripped my leg. I tried to pull away but there I discovered that I was being dragged to the deep ends. That is when I realised that I had been bitten by a crocodile. I alerted my friend before I started kicking and stabbing the crocodile with a stick while my friend was also pelting it with stones. Eventually it released me but it had torn a chunk of flesh from my leg before hitting me with its tail and this is how I sustained some of the injuries,” he said showing his bandaged foot.
Proud said although he was recovering, he was still in great pain. His grandmother, Mrs Siphelile Ncube has since appealed for help to buy medication for Proud.
“He has been admitted here for five days now and although he is recovering, he is still in pain from the attack. We are struggling to raise money to buy the required medication those who can assist can contact me on 0775438372,” she said.
Change ward councillor, Bakani Kwidini said authorities need to act to prevent or reduce the increase in human wildlife conflict in rural communities.
“It’s a sad and regrettable incident as it could have resulted in the loss of life. I’m yet to get finer details on the issue as I was out. But overally we need to seek ways of mitigating this human/wildlife conflict which is on the increase,” he said.
Villagers from areas with crocodile attacks on people and livestock include Matetsi, Kamativi, St Mary’s, Gwayi, Madumabisa and Sinderela.
ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo could not immediately comment on the incident involving the 13-year-old boy but said his organisation was carrying out awareness campaigns to educate the public on the dangers associated with water bodies.
“All water bodies can become habitats to crocodiles, it’s not to Hwange. However, we are carrying out awareness campaigns aimed at educating people on the dangers these water bodies may cause. We actually have a department dedicated to doing that. We are saying people should be careful when they are close to water bodies,” he said.