The love triangle unravelled in a spectacularly tragic way on Thursday night at Claremont, popularly known as Emkhayeni, in Fort Rixon, Matabeleland North Province.
Memory Ncube flew into rage after busting her husband Chalton Dube in the act with his girlfriend Jacqueline Chimanikire. Sadly Gugulethu Mpala, a Good Samaritan who tried to stop the fight, died on Tuesday at United Bulawayo Hospitals from injuries she sustained during the inferno.
Ncube, her husband, Chimanikire and a patron Themba Mpofu all sustained horrific burns all over their bodies and are reportedly still admitted at United Bulawayo Hospitals.
Disaster struck after Ncube reportedly kicked a container with petrol which was in one of the rooms in which Dube and Chimanikire were caught having sex. The fuel then flowed all over the room until it reached a fire burning outside.
The burnt down bottle store belongs to Chimanikire’s father who is reportedly based in Shurugwi. According to sources drama started after Ncube followed her husband to the shops after she received information that one of their children, based in Plumtree, was not feeling well.
Upon her arrival at the shops she went straight to the bottle store where she found her husband busy getting hot between the sheets with Chimanikire. Matabeleland South police spokesperson Philisani Ndebele confirmed the horrific incident saying investigations were in progress to ascertain what really transpired.
When a B-Metro news crew visited the area on Wednesday afternoon, a sombre atmosphere had engulfed as witnesses narrated a story which read more like the script from a horror film. Some said it was the worst thing that had ever happened there.
One witness who identified himself as Tshuma said screams for help drew patrons and neighbours out of their houses. The screams led them to a woman who was rolling on the ground, with flames all over her body.
One of the witnesses Sakheni Ncube (33) a shopkeeper at the burnt down shop who also suffered burns on her left hand while trying to save Mpala, said they saw a look of “pure terror” in her (Mpala) eyes as she lay helplessly, writhing and burning on the ground.
Some of the skin which peeled off from her burnt body when she squeezed herself against the wall of the toilet in a desperate bid to put off the fire was still there when B-Metro visited the scene.
Ncube who was in tears while narrating the horrific incident said people screamed as they tried to put out the flames with their hands while some waved their hands over her body frantically, desperate to stop the smoke rising from her body.
“It was around 8pm when Dube’s wife came and went straight to the room where the two — Chimanikire and Dube were sleeping. It seems the door was not locked which made it easy for Dube’s wife to gain access.
“After finding them in bed they started fighting. Gugulethu (Mpala) was in the opposite room when she heard that her friend was being attacked and so she rushed to her rescue.
“Before she stopped the fight, Jacqueline (Chimanikire) decided to take out the fuel which was in the room. While carrying the containers, Dube’s wife in a bid to fix them deliberately kicked them resulting in the fuel spilling all over the room and in the process it also splashed on Jacqueline all over her body,” said Ncube while wiping tears from her eyes.
Ncube further said Mpala was burned badly because she was drenched with petrol all over her body and Mpofu was caught in the crossfire while coming to buy beer.
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said they heard Mpala’s yell “help” before she burst out of the shop engulfed in flames.
Another witness Ndaba Sibanda (54) who was preparing supper outside the shop when the incident occurred nodded and said it was more like a scene from a horror movie. He said that it was very frightening and traumatic to those of nervous disposition.
“When I tried to enter the shop on my way from buying tomatoes petrol was all over the floor and with some flowing outside where there was fire. Before I got to their room to see what was happening the shop was engulfed by flames and I quickly bolted out.
“Minutes later I also saw Mpala coming out screaming while in flames. She rolled down on the ground in a desperate bid to put out the fire. Some neighbours later poured water but it was too late as she had been badly burnt,” said Sibanda.