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Harare City Cuncil under fire as two girls drown in disused quarry pit

Story by Peter Chivhima

It was a sombre atmosphere in Harare’s Manresa suburb at the funeral wake of two teenage girls who drowned in a disused quarry pit near Donnybrook Racecourse on Easter Sunday.

The community in Mabvuku suburb has been left shuttered after 12-year-old Blessing Takavadii and Tafara Masamba, aged 13, drowned in the disused quarry pit.

“We went to church and after church, we came back home. That is when Tafara said let’s go to the Racecourse to watch the race. On our way, Tafara told us to go and swim and I left behind while Tafara and Blessing got into the pool minutes later she called for help but I couldn’t. So am still in shock following the incident,” says Nancy, who is still in shock after witnessing her friends drown in the pool of death, while the father of the deceased girls, Mr. Domminic Takavadii, was at a loss for words.

He said, “As a family, we are in pain of losing two children at the same time. This is sad it is not the first time that this is happening in our family. What we want are the responsible authorities to close the pit.”

The community is equally in shock as to how tragic events of this nature are recurring under the local authority’s watch.

“It is painful that we are mourning children who drowned in a disused well and we don’t know why are they not closing them. Last time we heard about other three children who died in the same area but they fenced it, so we demand they fence this one as well,” said a community member.

Another weighed in, “As community members we are not happy, this is very sad that the young ones have gone in such a way.”

It has also emerged that this is not the first time the disused quarry pit has claimed lives, with residents of the nearby Mabvuku suburb taking it upon themselves to mobilise resources for covering what is now a death trap.

Mr. Shalvar Chikomba from Zimbabwe National Organisation of Association of Residents Trust asserted, “I think the best solution is for the nation to come together and see that these pits are closed and also the other way is for us representatives of residents to go the legal route so that we save people, especially children.”

“What we have discovered is that most of the children are drowning in the open pits, so we have mobilised resources so that we can close them,” he added.

Tafara and Blessing will be buried at Chishawasha Cemetery this Wednesday.

This is not the first time young and promising lives have been lost under tragic circumstances. Eleven-year-old Alex Chatira and Yusuf Chikepe drowned in an unprotected gully in the Warren Park suburb.

Two other juveniles aged 10 also drowned in an open pit filled with water in Harare’s Retreat suburb as local authorities continue to leave the death traps unguarded.

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