By Andile Tshuma
A form four pupil allegedly drank himself to death at a suspected Vuzu party in Nkulumane, Bulawayo.
Police recently arrested 131 rowdy youths in Bulawayo in an operation that saw law enforcement agents also confiscating alcohol and sex enhancing pills from teenagers headed to Vuzu parties where they engage in risky unprotected group sex.
Brandon Zimba (18) of Nkulumane suburb died on Saturday night at a party in the company of his friends and cousin at a house in the same suburb.
He was staying with his grandfather following the death of his father years ago while his mother works in South Africa.
The mother, Ms Sithembiso Zimba said she was devastated by her son’s death.
She said his behaviour completely changed when he moved to a new school and she suspects it was as a result of influence from bad friends.
“Never at any point in my life did I ever think that my child would drink himself to death. Growing up, he was obedient and brilliant in school. He started school in South Africa and came home for his secondary.
“I took him to Sizane High School and his school performance was very pleasing. The school, however, hiked fees and I was forced to transfer him to Hamilton High school. I regret that move because it has led to the death of my son.
“At Hamilton, I started receiving reports that he had started drinking. The elders who stayed with him would sit him down and each time he apologised and promised to change,” said Ms Zimba.
She decried the growing culture of juvenile delinquency and said she believed her child’s demise was a result of bad friends.
“This society and this new culture of today will ‘finish’ our children and something needs to be done to stop it. We don’t know what transpires at these VUZU parties, perhaps they abuse all sorts of drugs besides alcohol. Those that were with him should have called for help when Brandon passed out but unfortunately they decided to watch him die. I am asking myself why him?” she said.
Ms Zimba said she now regretted her decision to work in South Africa to fend for the family.
“I keep asking myself if the situation would have been different had I stayed home and taken care of my children. But I am living in South Africa to work and fend for my children.
“I did all I could for him as a single parent. I am doing all I can even for his younger siblings, his sister aged 14 and his young brother aged six,” she said.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the death.
“I can confirm that we are dealing with a case of sudden death and investigations are underway.”
Brandon’s grandfather, who only identified himself as Mr Ndebele and was Brandon’s guardian, said he was shocked by the boy’s death.
“I knew him to be a quiet fellow but there is a saying that still waters run deep. I cannot express my devastation and I cannot even imagine what his mother must be feeling following his death. He was the eldest and his father died some years ago.
“There is a sick culture that is slowly engulfing the youths and it is time communities took a stand. We have been reading about these strange parties and happenings but I never thought that one of these things done by youths could lead to the death of my grandson,” said Mr Ndebele.
Brandon will be laid to rest today at Athlone Cemetery after a funeral service at Kings and Queens’ funeral parlour at 8AM. The Herald