By Patrick Chitumba and Munyaradzi Musiiwa
GWERU – Two Midlands State University students drowned in two separate incidents on Sunday, the institution has said. MSU Information Director, Mirirai Mawere confirmed the two tragic deaths.
She said the institution of higher learning was deeply saddened by the untimely passing away of the students. The deceased students have been identified as Talent Marunga, 19, who drowned at Whitewaters Dam about 20km outside Gweru along Mvuma Road and Simbarashe Masvivi, 20, who drowned at Insukamini Dam in Lower Gweru, also about 20km outside Gweru.
Mawere said Marunga, a Level 1:1 student was pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Economics, while Simbarashe Masvivi, 20, was a Level 1:2 student who was studying law.
“It is painful that we have lost two of our students who died over the weekend. It’s incomprehensible that they died under similar circumstances. One died at Whitewaters Dam while the other died at Insukamini Dam,” she said.
MSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe posted two separate statements confirming the passing away of the two students on the university’s Facebook Page.
“The Vice Chancellor would like to express heartfelt condolences to the Masvivi family on the passing of Simbarashe Masvivi. Simbarashe, a Level 1 Semester 2 student in the Faculty of Law passed away on Sunday 9 May, 2015, in a drowning incident at Insukamini Dam,” read the message.
“Burial arrangements are yet to be finalised. May Simbarashe’s friends and family find comfort in that their loss is deeply felt and shared by the entire Midlands State University community. May his soul Rest In Peace.”
The Vice Chancellor further wrote: “The Vice Chancellor would also like to express heartfelt condolences to the Marunga family on the passing on of Talent Marunga. Talent, a Level 1 Semester 1 student in the Department of Economics passed away on Sunday 9 May, 2015. Burial arrangements are yet to be finalised. May Talent’s friends and family find comfort in that their loss is deeply felt and shared by the entire Midlands State University community. May his soul Rest In Peace.”
MSU students told The Chronicle that Marunga had gone to Whitewaters Dam on Sunday with other students for a developmental programme which had been organised by the institution aimed at imparting life skills to students.
They said when they arrived at Whitewaters Dam, other students started preparing the venue for their meeting, while Marunga and a few others dashed to the dam for a quick swim.
“Unfortunately Marunga drowned and his body was retrieved by a life guard. His body was taken to Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary awaiting post-mortem,” said a student on condition of anonymity.
Masvivi died under similar circumstances when he drowned in Insukamini Dam in Lower Gweru where he had gone for a church outreach programme in Maboleni.
Fellow students said on their way back to Gweru after the church outreach programme, they agreed to stop at Insukamini Dam to take some pictures.
A student who witnessed the tragic incident said Masvivi asked to have a glimpse of the dam wall before he slipped and drowned.
“Masvivi went with three others to the dam wall where they were posing for photos. While at the dam wall, he slipped and fell into the dam and drowned,” said the witness.
Masvivi’s body was retrieved yesterday afternoon by police sub-aqua unit from Bulawayo and taken to Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary for a postmortem.
The Chronicle news crew visited Insukamini Dam yesterday to witness police sub aqua unit retrieving Masvivi’s body.
The body was retrieved around 12.40PM in the presence of his grieving family members, MSU leadership and villagers who had gathered at the dam.
A sombre atmosphere gripped Insukamini as police carried Masvivi’s body from the dam before the relatives positively identified him.Villagers at the scene said it was the second drowning at the dam since January.
“In January, a 12 year-old boy drowned while fishing at the dam. Every year at least two people drown in the dam but that does not stop us from fishing,” said Nqobani Sibanda, a fisherman.
Midlands Police spokesperson, Inspector Joel Goko, confirmed both incidents but referred Chronicle to police headquarters for further details. The Chronicle