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Gone too soon! Chief Mabhikwa (28) dies in horror car crash

by Staff reporter
24 May 2022 at 07:21hrs | Views
CHIEF Mabhikwa of Lupane who died yesterday after his vehicle crashed head on with a haulage truck on Sunday night has been described as a humble cultural preservationist of outstanding leadership qualities who did not need to impose himself to be recognised.

Members of The late Chief Mabhikwa's family who visited the accident scene yesterday

Born Vusumuzi Khumalo from Jotsholo area in Lupane, he was installed Chief Mabhikwa on May 11, 2012 at the age of 18, and had served the traditional leadership institution for a decade.

He was 28.

A sombre atmosphere engulfed Lupane District in Matabeleland North as news filtered that ‘induna isikhotheme', a Nguni terminology referring to the death of a revered traditional leader.

Chief Mabhikwa died early yesterday morning at St Luke's Hospital where he had been rushed for treatment after his car, an Isuzu twin cab was involved in a head on collision with a haulage truck, just 6km from his homestead in Jotsholo on Sunday, at about 10PM.

The Chronicle yesterday visited the scene of the accident. The wreckage of the mangled vehicle showed that the driver's side was a total write off.

His sister, Ms Sehliselo Khumalo, said they received a call after 10PM on Sunday informing them about the accident.

"Chief Mabhikwa was involved in an accident at around 10PM and was rushed to St Luke's Hospital for medical attention," she told Chronicle.

"It was about 6km from Cross Jotsholo and he was on his way home from Bulawayo.

He had a collision with a haulage truck and we rushed to the scene.

"When we got there, he was trapped in the car and was in pain, saying his leg is painful.

He was speaking and the ambulance came and took him to St Luke's Hospital where the doctor and nurses attended to him," said Ms Khumalo.

She said at 3AM they left Chief Mabhikwa conscious but received the sad news some hours later.

"When we left doctors said he was stable and his injury was on the hip joint.

We then left the hospital at around 3AM and said our goodbyes to him promising that we shall see each other in the morning," said Ms Khumalo.

"Unfortunately, at around 7AM we got a phone call informing us that he is no more."

Government has also mourned the death of Chief Mabhikwa, describing him as a patriotic chief and diligent young traditional leader.

"The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Honorable Senator Monica Mutsvangwa joins His Excellency, President Dr E.D Mnangagwa and the nation at large in mourning the passing on of Chief Mabhikwa," read the statement.

"Chief Mabhikwa died on the 22nd of May 2022 at St Luke's Hospital after being involved in a head-on collision with a haulage truck along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway around 10pm.

He was among the crop of patriotic young generation who became a Chief at a tender age of 18 in 2012 and a member of the Council of Chiefs."

On his appointment as a BAZ board member since 2019, the Government said Mabhikwa served with diligence and expressed condolences to his family and community.

"May work colleagues, friends and the Khumalo family be comforted and take solace as we mourn with them on the untimely departure of a workmate, friend and brother.

Chief Mabhikwa will always be remembered.

May his dear soul rest in eternal peace," reads the statement.

The chief's subjects also expressed shock following his sudden death.

Lupane businessman, Mr Permanent Sibanda, described Chief Mabhikwa as a humble selfless young leader who will be sorely missed for his pro development focus.

"He was a person who bridged the gap between himself and the business community.

He was accessible and he would attend to all business needs," he said.

"If there were business meetings, he would attend them and would instil that mindset of development in Lupane and simplified the word simple.

We have lost a gallant son who had a brilliant mind," said Mr Sibanda.

He said Chief Mabhikwa even chaired the Lupane Business Trust.

In separate interviews, youthful and senior chiefs said the traditional leadership institution had been robbed of a humble leader who, despite his age, was mature and would proffer solutions to problems.

Deputy president of the Council of Chiefs, Chief Mtshana Khumalo said Chief Mabhikwa's death was heartbreaking saying sometimes it is better to hear of someone's death after they had fallen ill.

"We worked very well with him, he was one of the young chiefs whom we believed that if there were any positions that needed to be filled, we were confident of seconding him," said Chief Mtshana.

"He was proactive and I believe with experience, he was going to be a good leader.

Waking up to hear that someone has passed on is very painful. Elders say we are comforted when someone dies after falling ill but God decides how we die.

"It shocked all of us this morning to learn of his sudden death," said Chief Mtshana.

He said traditional leaders were expecting Government to take care of the burial arrangements and programme.

Chief Mtshana said there is also a need to allow the family to mourn without being pressured on who should replace him.

Chief Matupula from Tsholotsho said Chief Mabhikwa was his brother and they were closely related and were installed into their traditional leadership days apart.

Chief Mabhikwa's area of jurisdiction shares a border with Chief Matupula.

"We were installed chiefs in 2012 together.

He was installed first (on May 11) and I followed some days later (June 2).

He was a brother, we are related, we were neighbours and we belonged to the same generation of younger chief under the guideship and mentorship of our seniors, the likes of Chief Mtshana," he said.

"Without doubt we were very close in all spheres.

Chief Mabhikwa did not need much time to be recognised as he quickly gained the respect and his leadership was valuable to the traditional leadership institution through his insightful advice and guidance," said Chief Matupula.

He said it was not surprising when Chief Mabhikwa was appointed a board member of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

Chief Matupula also said Chief Mabhiwa was approachable and would easily blend with senior chiefs and proffer solutions to challenges.

"He was a very humble man, always laughing and in good spirits, approachable and friendly. We looked to him for advice and guidance as the younger leaders because sometimes we only can confide in each other on the challenges and opportunities we encounter day by day," he said.

"As such we have lost a dear colleague, a brother and friend.

My family and I as well as my community abako Matupula join the community and nation in sending our deepest condolences to the Mabhikwa family and the community in mourning.

Lala ngokuthula qhawe lakithi iNkosi iduduze imuli yonke yakoMabhikwa," said Chief Matupula.

Another youthful traditional leader, Chief Nkalakatha said Chief Mabhikwa oriented him on the way he should conduct himself as a traditional leader.

"I'm devastated following the death of Chief Mabhikwa, he was a brother to me, he taught me how to conduct myself as a chief," he said.

"Whenever I encountered challenges, he was there to guide me, he was open, candid and never compromised on cultural values," said Chief Nkalakatha.

Source - The Chronicle
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