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Teen falls to his death while fetching mangoes from tree

By Tinashe Mungazi

A 13 year old boy from Hwange died on the spot on Sunday evening after falling off a tree where he was fetching mangoes for a client.

The deceased boy who was identified as Emmanuel Nkomazana and was doing grade 7 at a local school fell head on from a 7-metre mango tree before cracking his skull in the freak accident.

Though Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson, Chief Inspector, Siphiwe Makonese could not immediately confirm the incident, a relative close to the developments told CITE that deceased had been hired by mangoe traders popularly known as Zanzai to fetch mangoes at Lwendulu village’s L section.

J“He was with other boys his age when the mishap happened. Apparently they had been hired by the people who buy mangoes in bulk to climb up the trees and fetch the mangoes. However, he is reported to have slipped after losing his balance and fell head on from the 7-metre tall tree. What we learnt is that there was panic as the people who were present stood in horror after noticing that deceased’s skull had cracked open following the impact,” said the relative on condition of anonymity.

Deceased who was reportedly lifeless was rushed to Hwange Colliery hospital were nurses battled in vain to resuscitate him before he was declared dead. The body was referred to the hospital mortuary.

When CITE visited the family a somber atmosphere enveloped it with mourners having gathered while police officers were seen taking statements from some of the family members.

It is a common sight to see a number of mango traders from Bulawayo and Harare flocking Hwange during this time of the season however, some residents said the unavailability of teachers at schools and reluctance by parents to effectively supervise children was pushing.

“The Covid 19 induced lockdown as well as the recent industrial action by teachers exposed children to dangers of child labour as well as lessened supervision of parents to ensure they do get into trouble. Cases of child labour and exploitation have risen during lockdown especially of children being exploited by brick moulders in some parts of Hwange and of late, we see these Zanzai guys hiring children to climb up trees for a dollar of packet of jiggies. I think parents need to be more responsible to avoid what we are now seen, as a community we have a role to play in guarding our children,” said one resident, Margaret Ncube.

Meanwhile, residents are outraged with the mango buyers whom they accuse of causing the child’s death by hiring children to do their work and calling for their arrest.

“These people should be arrested. If it weren’t for them the boy could be alive right now but this business of theirs where they ask children to risk their limbs climbing trees should be condemned in the strongest terms. They should be the ones climbing these trees not risking children,” said a resident who identified herself as maNdlovu.

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