What started as a romantic outing ended up fatal when a man, believed to be a madzibaba, drowned in Mazowe Dam on Thursday
Lee Musadembe (30), the deceased, of Norton, is believed to have gone for a boat ride with his companions Thandiwe Zengeni (30 and Marlon Munyanyiwa (27) — when tragedy struck as he drowned after pushing the boat into the water.
Different theories have been postulated as to what caused Musadembe’s death. Some say it was an accident caused by weeds which trapped him in water. Others claim that there was a supernatural element, saying a mermaid is believed to have taken him.
Musadembe and his colleagues had captured some happy last moments before he met his fate. Police yesterday confirmed the drowning, saying Musadembe could have been trapped by weeds because after his body was retrieved he was holding weeds in his hand, while some were all over his legs. Some are believing that the deceased had been taken by a mermaid, prompting relatives to conduct a traditional cleansing ceremony.
When the body was retrieved, a traditional cloth known as retso had been placed on the body. An audio circulating on social media, believed to be that of a relative, alleges that Musadembe was taken by a mermaid in the dam.
“His friends tried to pull him out of the water but failed. It seems something was also pulling him down into the water. “The police were later informed. Relatives and friends were informed not to mourn, but rather perform the necessary rituals so that the person returns unharmed.
“Hama dzakamboita sedzichatevedzera zvavakanga vaudzwa, but havana. Ndipo patakazoona Lee achiita kunge amonywa musoro achitobuda ropa atofa akabata zvinenge zvimahuswa mumaoko.”
Contacted for comment, an acquaintance of Musadembe said he was in the habit of going out to party with his friends. “Aive mupostori, but aida zvebhahwa nemafaro, and family yake yaisaziva kuti ndihwo hunhu hwake.
“Dam warden vakataura kuti vaitotambira kumahombekombe edam kwekuti hapana anganyure. “He then slipped and it appeared as if something was pulling him into the water and then disappeared.
“People searched everywhere for him, but he could not be found. He resurfaced wrapped with a red and white cloth with some weeds in his hands,” said the source. Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Inspector Milton Mundembe said the deceased had gone out canoeing with his two friends and decided to go for a boat cruise in the dam.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to confirm the drowning of one of the three people who were canoeing in Mazowe Dam on 2 January 2020,” said Insp Mundembe. “The three are believed to have met Peter Kagora who works at Henderson Research and owns a canoe which he sometimes uses for his personal use at the dam.
“The three insisted that Kagora take them for a tour. “His boat has a carrying capacity of four people, including the operator, so Musadembe decided to remain behind,” said Insp Mundembe. Insp Mundembe added: “The boat they boarded was manually operated, hence one was supposed to push it (into the water) first, hence Musadembe volunteered to push since he was remaining behind.
“It seems the boat was angled in a position that made it difficult to slide into the water and as Musadembe pushed it, he slipped and drowned. “His companions tried looking for him, but they failed to find him, and later reported the case at Mazowe station.
“The police came and tried to look for him, but they couldn’t find him. His body was retrieved the following day and was taken to Concession Hospital for postmortem,” said Insp Mundembe.
Insp Mundembe said the results stated that he could not breathe well and suffocated (asphyxia, secondary to drowning) leading to his death. “Yes when one drowns, it is very possible that their body can be covered with water weeds.
I cannot comment on the traditional cloth issue. I urge members of the public to seek assistance from registered and licensed people for cruising, and also to always put on a life jacket so as to avoid such incidents,” said Insp Mundembe.