By Senzeni Ncube
A 42-year-old Nkulumane man was found dead on Monday morning after imbibing a highly potent cane spirit.
The man who was identified as Nqobani Mhlanga was a well-known imbiber in the area who used to drink excessively.
His favourite brand was the Explorer Cane Spirit.
On three occasions before, he has been ferried to the hospital after collapsing from taking one too many.
In an interview with CITE, Sakhile Ndebele a tenant at Mhlanga`s house said the deceased used part of the rental money she had paid to buy alcohol the previous day.
“I paid my rentals yesterday (Sunday) together with the debt that I owed him after he fixed my shoes for me since he was a cobbler, he then took that money and went to buy Explorer and King with it,” Ndebele said.
“He started drinking without eating anything, upon my arrival from visiting my husband jail, he told me that he was hungry but did not want vegetables since I offered him Isitshwala with vegetables.
“He then went to sleep without eating, In the middle of the night he called for me saying he is hungry and wanted meat, I told him I did not have any meat, I then went to my room to sleep,” she narrated.
Ndebele said she realised that something was amiss the following morning when she was preparing for her child to go to school.
“He is the one who usually wakes me up to prepare for my child for school, today he did not do it so I thought he overslept, when I came back from school I found him still asleep. I started filling the buckets with water and when I called for him to notify him that I was filling his buckets as well since he was expecting his wife today he did not respond.
“His phone started ringing, I called for him again but there was no response and when I went into his bedroom his eyes and mouth was open. I then ran out to alert our neighbours,” she said.
Another neighbour, Alson Nkomo described Mhlanga as a heavy drinker.
“When I was summoned, I found him with a bottle of alcohol in his hands while his body was already cold and we then decided to call the ambulance.
“He was someone who loved beer too much, he abused hot stuff a lot and he is someone who was often taken by ambulance after collapsing from heavy drinking,” Nkomo said.
Amos Ngwenya who was Mhlanga’s friend described him as a drunkard who could drink without having a decent meal.
“Yesterday I was with him while he was mending shoes, he was busy drinking and he even sent one of the boys to buy him another bottle of whiskey.
“He started saying he is not feeling well and asked me to finish the shoe he was working on that time, we parted ways in the evening and he was really drunk,” Ngwenya said.
Ward 23 Administrator; Munyaradzi Goya Phiri also described Mhlanga as someone who spent most of his time abusing alcohol.
“He was someone who spent most of his time mending shoes and he used the money he got from that business to buy beer.
“As a community we are saddened with this scenario, this cheap alcohol is destroying our communities, people drink hot stuff without decent meals, it is our appeal for retail shops to avoid selling this brand of alcohol to people especially school children,” Phiri said.
It is believed that this is the second person to die of alcohol overdose in the area.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo Acting Police Spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said the police were still investigating the case.