Douglas Zimunya is the only survivor of the Dema accident that killed 10 people at the 41km peg along the Harare-Wedza highway in Seke four months ago.
By Jairos Saunyama
The 23-year-old now walks with the aid of crutches, but it is his cheerful smile that disarms anyone who gets to listen to the tale of his miracle survival.
A commuter omnibus travelling from Nzvimbe in Manicaland to Harare, hit a stationary truck parked on the edge of the road and was reduced to a ball of metal.
Zimunya, who was the kombi conductor, spoke to The Standard People recently at Merrydown Brooke near Hatcliffe in Harare where he is currently recuperating under the care of his aunt.
“I cannot believe that I am alive after what happened. I cannot believe that I was the only survivor in that horror accident. I now have no doubt that God has a purpose for me,” said Zimunya, who spent several weeks admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
He suffered head injuries, a broken right leg, as well as a big cut on his ankle besides other relatively minor injuries.
What started as a normal day for him ended in tragic horror for the young man.
“We left Nzvimbe at around 3am as usual and we expected to get to Harare at around 6am. There were 11 people in the kombi and the two back seats and the front passenger seat were filled with bags of groundnuts.
“I really don’t know what happened following a loud bang, which is all I can remember and then my attempts at rescuing one of the passengers whom I had seen trapped under a seat. I then passed out and the next thing I remember, I was lying in hospital,” he said.
Zimunya said the kombi driver, Nemonic Ganganje (26), who was popularly known as Muno, tried to overtake a vehicle in front of him without noticing there was a broken down truck parked on the right lane.
“I was seated near the door by the small space commonly referred to in kombi lingo as Pakadoma with two kids that had been entrusted to me by their relatives in Nzvimbe. I was to hand them over to their relatives who would be waiting for them in Harare,” he said.
Those children died along with all the passengers on the kombi. His aunt Evelyn Mutangadura (26) said it had not been an easy road for Zimunya since the accident.
“At one point we thought he had lost his mind as he kept saying disjointed statements. The doctors, however, allayed our fears and assured us he was alright,” she said.
The owner of the uninsured kombi, identified only as Maodzwa, is said to have assisted with only $45 for Zimunya’s medical bills.
“I met the kombi owner at the hospital the first day and he gave us $15 saying that he would return but he never did. My father had to sell a cow to pay bills and other expenses,” she said, adding they later received another $30 from Maodzwa.
Zimunya is still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.