Police vans at the Nwanedi dam at Muswodi Tshisimani, where Shumani Phaswana drowned. Photo supplied.
Shumani Phaswana was unemployed, but this did not prevent him from making a meaningful life for himself and those close to him. The 57-year-old man from Muswodi Tshisimani would venture to the local Nwanedi Dam and fish, keeping some of his catch for himself and selling the rest to the community.
On Sunday, 29 October, Phaswana went to the dam as usual with a friend and tried to launch his self-made boat onto the water. On the second attempt, however, he ran into trouble and the boat sank. Phaswana disappeared under the water and drowned.
News about the drowning reached the village and neighbouring villages instantly via social media, and within a very short space of time, a crowd of curious onlookers flocked to the dam. The dam is believed to have swallowed up many people in recent times. Some of the victims were also allegedly killed somewhere else and dumped in its deep waters. The latest drowning has been widely condemned by members of the community who blame the government for not doing enough to deny people access to the dam.
Police spokesperson Brig Hlulani Mashaba confirmed the incident. “We have opened an inquest docket and we are appealing to residents not to venture into deep waters, either for fishing or swimming, as there are dangers of drowning and being attacked by water animals like crocodiles and hippos,” he said.
The family spokesperson and cousin of the deceased, Mr Jeremiah Makhado, said he last spoke to his cousin the day before his death. “He was in good spirits, and I was very shocked to receive the bad news on Sunday. This is very hard on the family. He has left a big void in our hearts,” he said.
Mr James Muthathedzwa, who was at the dam to comfort the grieving family, said the dam served no purpose in the community and that it should be fenced off. “So many lives have been lost in this dam. It worries us that the government is still mining soil from the dam, without even considering the safety of the community. Many children risk their lives swimming in these dangerous waters and the worst is still to come if nothing is done here,” he said.
Phaswana will be buried at Muswodi Tshisimani on Saturday, 4 November. The service starts at 06:00.
News - Date: 03 November 2023
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Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.
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