Wednesday 10 February 2021


A VILLAGE head in Mpofu area of Lupane, his wife and domestic worker are battling for life in hospital with severe burns after his grandson allegedly doused a three-roomed house they were sleeping in with petrol before setting it alight in an attempt to kill them.

Four other members who include the couple’s 23-year-old daughter and three grandchildren aged between seven and 10 years escaped unhurt following the incident that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday.

All household property comprising two beds, three wardrobes, a tv set, sofas, a generator, kitchen unit, decoders, clothes, foodstuffs, cellphone handsets, identity documents and various other items as well as US$1 000 cash was burnt.

The suspect Kholwani Donga who is in police custody after being arrested on Tuesday, reportedly accused his grandfather Mr Robert Donga (75) and grandmother Ms Angela Mpala (52) of being responsible for his father’s death.

Donga claims his grandparents bewitched his father leading to his death last month. Sources close to the happenings told Chronicle that Donga started having problems with his grandparents last week after consulting a tsikamutanda who told him that they bewitched his father.

He allegedly attempted to kill them last week on Thursday when he torched a two-roomed house but there was no one inside.

Donga allegedly made a second attempt on Friday and burnt a kitchen hut. Seeing that his two attempts had missed the targets, Donga allegedly armed himself with petrol around 1AM on Tuesday and doused the three roomed house where Mr Donga, Ms Mpala, their daughter Ms Ayanda Donga and her daughter Bandile aged eight as well as two other grandchildren Buhle and Andile aged 10 and seven were sleeping.

A domestic worker Praymore Sibanda aged 19 who was seriously burnt, was also sleeping in the sitting room.

The family had shifted all the property into the three-roomed house following last week’s fire incidents, unbeknown to them that Donga was not yet done.

Ms Donga said her father and Praymore were severely burnt and were transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital from St Luke’s Hospital in Lupane.

“We were all asleep when I heard a loud bang and my mother screaming and I discovered that the house was on fire,” said Ms Donga in a telephone interview. She said she quickly jumped out through the window and started rescuing others.

“I think he poured petrol in all the rooms. The fire started from the main bedroom where my parents were sleeping. I pulled the three girls out and that is when I saw him (the suspect) and I called him by his name asking why he had chosen to kill his own grandfather. He charged at me and tried to strangle me and he let go when my child screamed.

I rushed inside to rescue my parents and when I tried to pull my father, his skin was peeling off because he had been seriously burnt. My father had sold three beasts and all the money was burnt, nothing was salvaged,” said Ms Donga.

Lupane District Development Coordinator Mrs Ennerty Sithole who chairs the local Civil Protection Unit (CPU) said an appeal for help has been made. “We visited the family as CPU and have made an appeal to various stakeholders and some have started sending donations. The family remained with nothing and desperately needs food, building material, clothes, blankets and assistance with medical bills,” she said. Chief Mabhikwa of Lupane said the community was shocked by the incident.

“There are some reports coming through that the suspect accused his grandparents of witchcraft. This is a painful incident and sad chapter in our community because the family has lost everything while some are battling for life.

“We encourage people to solve disputes amicably without resorting to violence. This is not the right time to be running around because of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are grateful to those that have assisted so far,” he said.

Police could not readily comment on the matter. Donga is expected to appear in court soon.  Chronicle


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