THE thought of his daughter’s body lying inside a 100m deep well kept Mr Mthokozi Ndlovu awake for two nights while waiting for police to come and retrieve her decomposing remains.
His daughter, Miss Margaret Ndlovu (20), was beaten to death by her lover on August 29, at Wood Croft Farm in Nyamandlovu and he told her father that she was missing.
Mr Ndlovu cannot get over the trauma that he went through.
A stench coming from the well which is next to their home led to the decaying body of her daughter who was thrown there on that night.
Like every responsible parent, Mr Ndlovu had approached ZRP Cowdray Park on August 31 to report that his daughter was missing as claimed by Clifford Phiri.
Villagers, however, tipped him off that on the day of the alleged disappearance, Phiri was spotted bashing the woman on their way home in the evening.
At one point he allegedly dragged the woman leaving a trail of blood for all to see but no one had the courage to save her from the assault which led to her death.
Phiri got to the homestead which is next to his father-in-law’s and told Mr Ndlovu that his daughter was missing as she had gone with a truck driver.
He waited for the family to retire to bed and then took a wheelbarrow to the kitchen hut where he had placed Ndlovu’s body and then carried it to the well and threw it inside.
Mr Ndlovu could not believe the story that she had eloped and decided to file a missing persons report with the police.
After filing the report, Mr Ndlovu heard that Phiri had been apprehended by villagers for assault and taken to the police station, only to be released minutes later as police were still investigating.
Seven days later, Ndlovu who could not stomach that his daughter had just disappeared without a trace, smelt a stench from a nearby disused well.
With a heavy heart and praying that his worst fears would not come to pass, Mr Ndlovu asked neighbors to help confirm that indeed there was something amiss inside the well.
He again went back to ZRP Cowdray Park located 25km from the homestead to report the incident but police came, looked into the well and concluded that it was just a plastic bag.
The next 48 hours were the worst for the Ndlovu family as they were convinced that the stench could be emanating from their ‘missing’ daughter but were not sure.
Eventually after community members gathered and used their equipment, police managed to come back to the well and removed the body which Ndlovu immediately identified as his daughter’s.
Police also recovered Phiri’s blood-stained clothes and shoes from the same well.
“What hurts most is my daughter was killed and buried just outside my home while we were made to think that she was missing. I cannot get over the stench which was coming from her maggot infested body and the fact that police took two days after we had notified them of the anomaly in the well,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“I couldn’t sleep during those days because I could feel that something was wrong with my daughter. I had heard stories that Phiri was always abusing her but I took it lightly not knowing that it would cost her life.”
Phiri, whose inlaws have discovered is a married man with two children in Inyathi, had battered the late Ndlovu alleging that she was in love with a truck driver from the area.
“My daughter was thrown into a well 30m away from the homestead, like an animal and honestly I do not know if I will ever get over this incident. Phiri was not only ruthless but proved that he did not love my daughter like he claimed,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Phiri who was on the run after the body was retrieved was caught unawares at his homestead on Sunday in Inyathi having lunch with his family.
Phiri’s ex-lover, who also suffered abuse, tipped them off to go to Inyathi where he is a well-known builder and community member.
“We are relieved that he was arrested but his actions will forever haunt us. My daughter was very young and had a future which Phiri snatched away because of unfounded insecurities,” he said.
His daughter was buried in Nyamandlovu on Tuesday and her mother Ms Janet Sibanda said she was grateful to Kingdom Blue which covered all funeral expenses.
“I had so much hope in her future. I knew she was going to bring about change in my family as a hard worker. Now she is gone, killed by a man who was supposed to be a son-in-law, am shattered,” she said, holding back tears.
“We are however grateful to people who chipped in and helped us carry the load and may God bless Ezra and his friends for all they did to help us as a family. We are not sure if we will ever get over this, as her mother I do not think I will survive this.”
Bulawayo deputy police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele confirmed that it was members of the public with the help of ZRP Inyathi who managed to apprehend Phiri.
She said police had not let Phiri scot free as they were doing investigations regarding the assault case.
“We have heard that people are alleging that we released Phiri for no reason but the truth is community members brought him in saying he was spotted beating his wife.
“The complainant was not there and we had no basis to keep him in the cells as we were still searching for the complainant who was said to be missing,” said Asst Insp Msebele.
“We encourage members of the public to solve their disputes amicably; there is no point in assaulting or killing each other as we have several support structures available to help couples and families.”