A man, who stabbed and killed his best friend when they were fighting for R7 in Esigodini, has broken his silence and apologized for the murderous act he committed.
Khululiwe Mema (40), who is serving his 30-year jail term at Khami Maximum Prison, told B-Metro that murdering his best friend was not his intention.
He said his guilty conscience was tormenting him and he wanted to settle his issues with the relatives of the deceased.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the prison authorities for coming up with a program like this to try and link the community and the inmates who are serving in different prisons countrywide.
“It was in 2012 when I was approached by one of my friends in Esigodini in the company of his brother and he asked me to buy them beer. On the day in question, their mining samples had not produced a reasonable amount of money for them to buy beer like what other miners were doing,” he said.
Mema said as they were talking, the now-deceased produced a US$1 note and gave it to him to top up the beer money, but he insisted that he could not afford to buy beer for two more people from his budget for the day.
“I really tried to knock sense into the two guys that my budget for the day was too small such that I could not afford to buy them beer and as I was explaining myself to them, I was holding the note they had given me.
“When the two realized that I was not giving in to their request, the brother of the deceased snatched the note and it got torn into two pieces,” he said.
This angered the two brothers, who picked up empty bottles of beer and attacked him. Mema sustained head injuries.
“I sustained some serious head injuries and the security personnel at the bar is the one that came to my rescue by stopping these guys from further injuring me.
“The owner of the bar took us to his office and in their discussions, they agreed that they were going to foot my medical bills as I was bleeding profusely,” he said.
Mema said soon after the short meeting, the now-deceased approached him, claiming that he wanted to give him money to go to the hospital.
“It was around 8 pm, when the deceased person came to me in the company of his brother, telling me that they wanted to give me some money so that I could go to the hospital the next morning as I had sustained a dip cut at the back of my head.
“As we were going to their home of residence, I just had this funny feeling that these guys could attack me so as a way of protecting myself I had my pocket knife,” he said.
The inmate said on their way, the duo started insulting him over the issue and another fight erupted and he managed to overpower them. In the process, he managed to stab the now deceased on the lower abdomen and his brother managed to escape from the scene unhurt.
“As we were going to their place of residence, they tried to attack me once again using empty bottles but this time I was more than ready so I managed to overpower them and, in the process, I managed to stab the now deceased on the lower abdomen.
“After having over-powered these guys, I saw it pointless to continue walking with them, instead I changed direction and went home to rest as I had spent the whole day mining with my team,” he said.
The inmate said it was only the next morning that he got a shock of his life, when police officers, who came to his home, told him that he was under arrest for murder.
“Before I could write any statement pertaining to this issue, I demanded to see the body of the deceased and after being afforded that chance that’s when I discovered that I was going to be in prison for a very long time over R7,” he said.
The magistrate ruled that it was premeditated murder and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
“As we speak, I have served eight years in prison and my stay has not been that easy as I am not at peace with myself so I thought it is better I ask you guys to Esigodini and meet the family of the now-deceased on my behalf to hear what they want.
“The information that you are going to get from that family may you please give it to my family so that something can be done over this issue as I know that there is “Ngozi” from such issues”
Mema said whilst in prison he decided to be part of the rehabilitation section and they managed to form a musical group called Voice of Praise, a gospel band.
They managed to record their first album called Ngithathe Nginje. The album has eight tracks.
“My life was really affected by this issue, but at the same time, I would like to think it’s a punishment from God as I had left his ways that I was brought up under by my parents.
“Before I got into this situation, my father told me that it was high time I stop drinking and smoking as this would leave me in a pool of mud.
“Right now, I understand what he meant and as we speak, I am now a member of the Seventh Day Adventist. Since 2014 I stopped smoking as my father had advised me” he ended.