Friday, 29 March 2019


For Lydia Kanikani, nee Chipongo of Chimanimani, March 15, 2019 will be etched in her memory forever. The Cyclone Idai induced devastation has left her inconsolable.

Her three sons domiciled in South Africa had told her to stay in Ngangu, Chimanimani where she would take care of Lloyd, her youngest son, as he went to the nearby Chimanimani High School for his Form Two.

“My husband died last year. Zivai and his two brothers exhorted me to leave Muusha communal lands and only come back to tend the fields but most of the time I will be in Chimanimani to look after Lloyd who would be attending school. Everything was going on fine until March 15 when rain pounded our lodgings,” the tearful Lydia Sithole began her story.

She is currently in a Mutare Hospital where she is receiving medical help for her head and leg injuries. 

“It had been raining all day that Friday but the intensity rose after 6pm. We sat in the house petrified with my son. Suddenly, the house gave way and floods entered. We had no time to pick this or that thing; we sought refuge at a neighbour’s house but the respite was just for a moment.

“We sat in the dining and waited. We didn’t know what we were waiting for but we just hoped salvation would come. We heard sounds outside and in no time, the house collapsed and we were swept downhill. That was the last time I saw my son alive,” she said.

Rocks and boulders from the mountains were the instruments of destruction which aided the floods to inflict the massive damages to both humans and infrastructure.

“Along with my son were two boys whom we sat with in the dining. They were never seen alive again. As the raging and angry waters dragged me, various rocks and stones hit me on the head and legs. Uppermost in my mind was if my dear Lloyd was alive wher was he. By a twist of fate, I grabbed something and I stopped being pulled away. It was as if a giant force was pulling me to my grave but after gaining that leverage, I remained there until I was rescued. 

“It’s unbelievable that as we sat in the dining room, the boys’ father went outside and tried to create a leeway for the angry waters not to buffet the house. Alas, the waters had other ideas and we were hurled out of the house and we struggled for dear life. The man survived,” she continued.

What Lydia Sithole is uncomfortable with is that she never attended her son’s burial last Monday as she battled for her life in hospital.

“My heart is numb. I couldn’t attend my son’s burial. I thank Edmore Mtisi and his wife for being there.

“Lloyd’s relatives couldn’t come because of the inaccessible road and most of them are in Chipinge,” Mrs Kanikani continued as she weeped uncontrollably.

She suffered serious head and leg injuries but most of all, her soul has been destroyed.

“Our mother has said she can no longer stay in Chimanimani,” her eldest son, Zivai Kanikani, said. Manica Post


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