By News Editor
Mystery is surrounding the death of a Form 2 Rutendo High School student who is believed to have been drowned by a mermaid at Cactus Poorte Dam on Tuesday.
Keith Manyamba (16) in the company of over 30 of his classmates was the only one who drowned under mysterious circumstances when they were having a casual swim at the dam.
Sources said school authorities had dismissed lower classes learners from school to create enough space for candidates who are writing their final national examinations.
The deceased who was the only child was staying with his grandmother while the mother who is the sole breadwinner is working in nearby South Africa.
A tearful family relative told this publication that the tragedy has left the family with many unanswered questions on why Keith was the only one who drowned out of the whole group.
“We are yet to come to terms with this tragedy and the untimely demise of the teenager who had a promising future,” the relative said.
“We just heard that on the fateful day the learners were dismissed from school to create space for writing classes. The students in Keith’s class then decided to while up time at Cactus without the knowledge of school authorities. “We don’t know what really happened which led to the drowning of the now deceased,” the relative said.
It has been gathered that efforts to rescue Keith by nearby fishermen proved fruitless as they found him dead under the water.
“We are shocked with the state they found the body in. As far as we know most people who drown in Cactus will be found standing upright since they will be stuck in the mud which is found in the dam.
“In some cases the body would have been found floating on top of water. It is however strange that in this case the body was found under the water. We are suspecting that he might have been drowned by a mermaid,” a family member said.
Residents are calling for the local authority to take action as water bodies surrounding Redcliff have become life threatening.
Recently a few kilometers away from Cactus Dam another student from the same neighborhood was mauled by crocodiles when he was having a casual swim with his friends in Kwekwe River.
The community members only managed to retrieve the mangled remains of Ali Phiri with the Zimbabwe Parks only shooting the reptile dead a day later. Residents are now calling for the local authority to take serious measures in light of the deaths.
With the deepening water crisis in the steelworks suburbs children mostly to save the available precious liquid usually take casual swims in the water bodies which are proving to be dangerous.
Redcliff Deputy Mayor Vincent Masiiwa said the concerns raised by the community are genuine.
“It is true that something needs to be done in light of the recent deaths. It’s sad to say in a space of two months we have lost two learners in our water bodies that situation must not be allowed to continue,” he said.
He added, “Also we must take measures to ensure that we put in place measures to all those visiting the dam to save lives.”
Residents are now calling for a cleansing ceremony following the numerous deaths over the years in the water bodies.
Redcliff Member of Parliament Lloyd Mukapiko said he was saddened with the event and blamed the scarcity of water on the tragedy.
“It is very saddening as a community that we are losing children under such circumstances. It is important that parents or guidance must take measures to ensure that children are safeguarded so that they will not get near the water bodies.
“However, at the same time the main challenge which has led to these deaths are water challenges which are being experienced in the constituency. If people had consistent water supply then such situations were going to be avoidable. I am therefore calling on government to assist the local authority in coming up with a sustainable solution to this problem so that In future we avoid the deaths,” Mukapiko said.
Meanwhile, authorities from the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry at Kwekwe District Office said they are yet to get a report into the tragedy.
“We are yet to get a report about what really transpired. We are awaiting the school head to furnish us with information,” Kwekwe District Schools Inspector Bernard Mazambani said.