Tendai Mugabe and Tawanda Mangoma
Chiredzi Town is in mourning after residents lost six of their own in a head-on collision between a commuter omnibus and a haulage truck at Maranda turn off, 166km from Masvingo on the Beitbridge Highway on Tuesday.
The six have now been identified by police as Reuben Madzingo (24), Tawonga Mazana (28), Farai (38) and Collen Ernest Chipungu (37), Delight Zireva (31) and Vimbai Beta (41).
Beta was a farm manager at Farmware in Chiredzi.
Information gathered by The Herald shows that five of the six were businesspeople involved in commodity broking and were travelling to Polokwane, South Africa, on a routine business trip, while Madzingo had been sent by his father to buy spare parts for their tractor.
Chipungu owned the kombi and was driving. They left Chiredzi around 3am, and three hours later, the lorry coming north encroached into their lane, resulting in the vehicles colliding head-on.
Zireva was a newly-wed after tying the knot in April last year and he left behind a wife who is expecting. Beta lost his wife some years back in a car accident, and is survived by three children. Madzingo was a former student of Zimbabwe School of Mines, who was waiting for his final examinations results, while Mazana was still cutting his teeth in business.
Mr Reuben Madzingo (snr) told The Herald yesterday that he was still devastated and in shock.
“Reuben is my son and he has just completed his final examinations at the (Zimbabwe) School of Mines,” he said.
“One of my tractors has not been operational and I had sent him to procure some spare parts in South Africa. I am the one who called his colleagues to come and pick him up on their way to South Africa and they left Chiredzi around 3am.
“I then tried to call Reuben around 8am, and his mobile phone was no longer reachable. I tried to call the people in South Africa where he was supposed to buy the spare parts, and they said he had not yet arrived.”
He added: “From there, I started to get worried. I then received a phone call from someone who knows me saying there has been an accident that had occurred along Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway and they had seen my son’s passport.
“I was told that all the people in the kombi had perished.
“It was painful to receive news of their death considering their ages. All of them were young people whom we were looking to up in future. It’s so tragic, but I want thank police in Mwenezi for a job well done and the high level of honesty they displayed.
“They had a substantial amount of money on them, but not even a single cent was missing from the accident scene.”
One friend of the six who refused to be named said: “I spoke to Dee around 3am that Tuesday morning and little did I know that we were doing so for the last time. When I got to work, I started receiving pictures and news of the accident via WhatsApp.
“I could not believe my eyes. I tried to call Dee and Ernest, but all their mobile phones were no longer reachable.”
Some of the relatives and friends of the deceased refused to speak to the media, saying they were still in shock.