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Tragedy strikes Mutare school

By Ngoni Dapira

MUTARE – Chancellor Primary School in Mutare was plunged into mourning last Saturday night following a heartbreaking accident that claimed the life of deputy headmaster, Mr Jameson Mapepa and his wife, Chipo, nee Matsikure.

The wreckage of the Ford Ranger that claimed the lives of Mr and Mrs Mapepa last Saturday night. The late Mr and Mrs Mapepa (inset)
The wreckage of the Ford Ranger that claimed the lives of Mr and Mrs Mapepa last Saturday night. The late Mr and Mrs Mapepa (inset)

Everyone is still to come to terms with the tragedy which left the Mapepa children orphaned, while the accident is now the talk of Mutare, with everyone scratching his or her head for clues on what could have caused this unusual occurrence.

The scene of the accident which is a straight stretch has added more to the puzzle as both passengers perished, leaving no-one to tell the actual story behind the accident.

What is more painful is that the family recently lost their grandmother.

Deputy Manicaland police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda, on Wednesday, said they were suspecting driver inattention as the cause of the accident.

Mr Mapepa died on the spot, while his wife died upon arrival at the hospital.

He said according to police who attended the scene, it was suspected that while driving back home along Msasa Street in his single cab Ford Ranger, Registration Number ABH 8636, Mr Mapepa lost concentration and veered off the road to crash into a tree adjacent to the school grounds.

It was just after the school’s main gate.

“There were no first hand witnesses to really explain what happened, so we are just taking it as a case of inattention. This often happens in several road accidents, even on such roads where people least expect with no traffic congestion. He rammed into the tree by the left side of the car which probably indicates he was trying to avoid a head on collision,” said Asst Insp Chananda.

The family spokesperson, Evy, who is the first born daughter, said they were still in shock to lose both parents in such a terrible manner.

Evy said she was at home in the school premises when she received a call from a friend around 6.50pm notifying her of the accident.

“I could tell immediately that my friend was trying to conceal something about the accident. I sensed that something was wrong. I rushed to the scene, but my parents were said to have been ferried to Mutare Provincial Hospital by a passing private car. As to who first attended to the scene we really don’t know,” said Evy.

Prudence, the second born daughter, said she was away at school at the University of Zimbabwe when the accident happened.

She said what was most disheartening was that she had just talked to both the parents around 6pm, only to hear the shocking news a few minutes later.

“I was short of words and not expecting it. It was a normal day to me until hearing the distressing news.

“Together with my little brother we were at college. I am at UZ and he is at the Harare Institute of Technology. We are coping and taking it a day a time. It is, however, really a heavy burden, but by God’s grace we will be fine,” said Prudence.

Chancellor Primary School headmaster, Mr Masimba Chihowa, said the school had lost out on a valuable asset.

He said although they tried to console school children on Monday the news had spread like a veld fire and grief overwhelmed the entire school.

“The loss of such experienced manpower will be very hard to replace and we will greatly feel his void as a school. He was a very reliable deputy who was dedicated to his job. He loved children, which best explains why he was dearly loved by them and the sombre environment on Monday following the news of his tragic death,” said Mr Chihowa.

The late veteran educationist, Mr Mapepa started teaching in 1984 after graduating at the United College of Education in Bulawayo.

Before joining Chancellor in 2008 as the deputy headmaster he had prior served at Gutaurare Primary School in Zimunya and Mutare Junior School where he held the same post.

His wife, Chipo was a veteran nurse who had worked at Chikanga Clinic in Phase One since 1990. The couple left behind five children. Manica Post

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