Herdboy drowns in Bubi-Lupane dam

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

A boating expedition by two Lupane herdboys ended in tragedy after one of them drowned in the Bubi-Lupane Dam on Thursday.

19-year old Bekezela Nkomo, originally from Nkayi but employed as a herdboy in Lupane’s Mpofu Village under Chief Mabhikwa, died when a makeshift boat he and Thembani Ncube had jumped onto capsized.

Witnesses told that the duo panicked when they failed to control the boat and in the process it capsized.

Nkomo desperately tried to swim but could not reach the edge of the 40 million cubic-meter capacity water body as he drowned while their companions Can and Mpumelelo Ncube watched.

Ncube survived by hanging on the edge of the boat made of msasa tree-bark which remained floating and visible on top of water.

He was rescued by some villagers who arrived just in time to pull him out of the water.

Nkomo’s lifeless body was retrieved nearly 48 hours later by a police sub-aqua unit which was called in and arrived at the dam in the Matabeleland North capital on Saturday morning.

Lupane district administrator Ennerty Sithole who chairs the district Civil Protection Unit confirmed the incident.

“Yes we had an incident in which a 19-year-old man drowned while using a small boat with a friend. We have managed to retrieve Bekezela Nkomo’s body thanks to efforts of all cooperating stakeholders,” she said.

The dam was commissioned by the then Prime Minister, the late Morgan Tsvangirai in 2012 but has not been put to productive use.

The irrigation scheme earmarked for Mpofu Village has not kicked off despite part of the land having been cleared.

The dam is yet to supply water to both Kusile Rural District Council and Lupane Local Board owing to lack of a reservoir in the town whose growth is at a snail’s pace.