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Herdboys in narrow escape as lightning strike kills cattle

by Staff reporter
17 Mar 2022 at 05:46hrs | Views
"We ran for our dear lives when we saw the sun falling down and suddenly our cattle were lying on the ground."

These are the words of 13-year-old Thabo Ndlovu after he and his friend Andrew Mpunzi cheated death when a bolt of lightning struck their herd of cattle in a bush in Chidobe outside Victoria Falls last Saturday.

The two boys are neighbours in BH34 and are in Form One at a local school.

They had gone to herd cattle in a bush near their village when it started raining in the afternoon before a bolt of lightning struck, killing three oxen and a heifer on the spot.

Three goats were also struck dead in a separate incident at almost the same time in neighbouring BH10 village when a bolt of lightning hit a pen and a homestead.

The incidents have left villagers in Hwange Rural District Council's Kachechete ward in fear as this is not the first time lightning has struck livestock in the area.

A number of similar incidents happened last year.

Thabo said they panicked when they saw cattle falling and others running towards them.

The two lads took to their heels heading home.

"I was with Andrew herding cattle when suddenly it appeared as if the sun had fallen.

We just saw cattle lying down and the others were fleeing towards us.

We didn't know what was happening and we fled going home to report to elders.

I was shocked, and they told us that it was lightning," said Thabo.

His father, Mr Henry Ndlovu said he lost three beasts.

"The boys were herding cattle in the bush near a power line and they said they saw the sun falling down.

They said the cattle started running in different directions and others were falling and rising in the process.

"My two oxen and a heifer died while another ox belonging to my neighbour also died.

This is not unusual because it is not the first incident to happen," said Mr Ndlovu.

A local tour operator, Lion Encounter took the carcasses to feed domesticated lions at its concession in Jafuta forest.

However, there are concerns about disposal of carcasses struck by lightning as some feel culturally it is taboo to touch or use anything that is struck by lightning before some rituals are performed.

Some villagers said those who have lost their livestock in similar circumstances before also sold the carcasses to the company which uses the meat to feed domesticated lions.

They believe the recurrent bolts of lightning are a result of failure to properly dispose carcasses.

Mr Ndlovu said the company paid him US$30 for each carcass and he invited a church group to cleanse the area.

"Some neighbours told us that there was a company that usually buys such animals and I was skeptical because I know that culturally that is not allowed.

"So when they took away the carcasses we cleansed the area and burnt a tree that was also struck," he said.

Mr Tabashe Nyoni who lost three goats when his homestead was struck in BH10 said: "It started raining around 2pm and luckily there was no-one at home.

It struck the kraal and some trees in the yard including the fence.

We don't know what this means."

Kachechete ward councillor Givemeagain Moyo said last year similar incidents happened in BH27, BH10 and Chidobe areas where villagers lost livestock.

Source - The Chronicle
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