It’s the sound of a gun that a villager from the Fairfield area of Somabhula heard until he fell unconscious when a magazine of bullets was wasted on him.
About 55 bullets later, Brighton Ndlovu (50) was still alive after farm guards that accused him of poaching in 2008 shot and left him for dead.
The gun that almost killed Ndlovu was a Mossberg 500 listed as arguably the number one selling shotgun.
Of the 55 bullets that successfully found a spot on his body, only 16 were removed by doctors. Therefore, he lives with 39 bullets in his body.
“I was sitting with other villagers at Peter Moyo’s homestead. About five men who guard Debshan Farm which is seven kilometres from our homestead came and accused us of poaching. While we were trying to explain our side of the story one of them stood up and sprayed a gun randomly at us. While I was trying to run into the house they shot me several times on my back,, as a result I fell down and they continued,” said Ndlovu.
He was rushed to hospital where a doctor discovered there were 55 bullets in Ndlovu’s body.
Up to now, doctors have only managed to remove 16 of them. Thirty nine bullets are yet to be removed.
The matter was reported at Gweru Rural Police Station under case no.CR 115/ 04/ 08.
However, the accused Judah Mpofu was not arrested and he left for Gokwe without compensating his victim.
“We reported the matter at Gweru Rural Police Station. But the police officer said they didn’t have transport to go and investigate the case. Instead they told us that as villagers we had to go and locate Mpofu and effect a citizen’s arrest,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Midlands spokesperson Joel Goko were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
Ndlovu told B-Metro how he has lived with the ammunition in his body.
“They shot me on the back several times, on my thighs and buttocks. The doctor managed to remove those on the buttocks and thighs. Those on the shoulder and at the back are the ones still there,” he said.
That means a life in and out of hospital.
“I sleep on my tummy. On cold days I am affected by pneumonia. That is why I wear a jersey all the time. The bullets at times make me feel itchy,” he said.
His wife, Hleziphi Sibanda is now the breadwinner.
“I assist people with fetching firewood and water. They usually pay me with maize or money but it is not enough to buy required medication but we manage to buy pills,” she said.
No wife would want to see her husband in such pain. Sibanda gets emotional when she talks about her husband’s situation.
“He sold about 30 cattle to get medical attention. We have nothing now, we can’t even pay our children’s (six of them) school fees,” she said, adding they were $8 000 in the red with medical expenses.
To remove the remaining 39 bullets the couple needs $20 000.
John Moyo, the village head, has since decided to pay school fees for one of Ndlovu’s children.
“Community members have been assisting the family with money for buying medication. As the village head I am paying for his seven-year-old child who is doing Grade Two at Debshan Primary School. But he is facing a $253 debt for his other two school going children and has been given a letter of demand by the school authorities.”
Ndlovu is appealing for financial help and anyone who may wish to assist may contact him on 0717837515 or 0713234268.