Homestead burnt down in 'love triangle'
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The family is now living in roofless huts, with a two-week-old baby, born a few days after the inferno.
Although police could not confirm the incident, which occurred on 1 June, the family said they reported the matter to the police and village head and were waiting to go to court.
The family suspects that a fellow villager who is the first wife of a man its daughter is having an affair with set the huts on fire, with the intention of "dealing" with it for snatching her husband.
The man at the centre of the love triangle, Mr Sabelo Dube (55) reportedly has an affair with Ms Sizalobukhosi Mlathi (31).
Mr Dube was co-habiting with Mlathi and had left his wife whom he has eight children with. He has since moved to the homestead of Ms Mlathi's parents.
It is alleged that after trying on several occasions to get her husband back, Ms Sithembiso Moyo then allegedly decided to burn down the homestead.
Mr Dube was also sleeping in one of the bedroom huts with the second wife Ms Mlathi on the fateful night.
Mr Dube had visited from his workplace at a restaurant in Matopos National Park to give Ms Mlathi money for her to go to hospital to deliver as she was due.
All the family members escaped unhurt.
The family's misfortunes started when Ms Mlathi started an affair with Mr Dube two years ago.
When a Chronicle news crew visited the homestead on Thursday afternoon, Mrs Velile Tshabalala-Mazwi, Ms Mlathi's mother was distressed. She, however, said she was grateful to the neighbours for their assistance.
"I was sleeping in the bedroom hut with five children. I heard footsteps at about 1am and thought it was a donkey looking for water. As I got out, I saw that the other two huts, a kitchen and spare bedroom were on fire. As I rushed back to my bedroom hut I realised it was also burning and all of them had been set alight from behind," said Mrs Tshabalala-Mazwi.
"We went to make a report to the police after the fire had subsided and in the morning we saw footprints. I suspect Dube's first wife did this because he was here on that night and she wanted to fix us and him."
Mrs Tshabalala-Mazwi said she wanted Ms Moyo to replace her property.
"My daughter has been fighting with her husband's first wife for a long time. There was a time when she would come here begging her to go and stay with her as the second wife. We doubted her intentions after which she started sending my daughter threatening text messages. I feared for my daughter's safety all along because she was pregnant then.
"But I have to be grateful to Mr Africa Ncube and other villagers who assisted us with thatch grass, poles and roofing sheets to temporarily repair our huts. I want her to repair my huts and compensate me for my property. God has a reason for everything and that is my only hope now. The fire occurred just a few days before my daughter delivered and surprisingly the baby's clothes were among the little property that was rescued. Right now the baby is surviving on neighbours' benevolence," Mrs Tshabalala-Mazwi said.
Ms Mlathi said her boyfriend's first wife had just stirred a hornet's nest.
She said she was planning "war" against her.
"I suspect Ms Moyo because even now she is inquiring from neighbours how my new baby is surviving in roofless houses. My relationship with her has now reached a boiling point, I have not really decided what I will do but she will not like it at all. She planned to kill us all with fire knowing pretty well that it was my day to go to the hospital to deliver," she said.
"I have never been to her homestead but she would come here begging me to go and stay with her. Recently, she was alleging that the pregnancy was not her husband's and later started threatening me with messages on the phone."
This reporter was shown some of the text messages allegedly sent by Ms Moyo and one of her daughters who is in Form Three.
Some of them read; "Zwana wena wule uyaqala uku***** lixhegu yini kumbe uhlanyiswa yiwo ama****** lawo? Lolo **** luzamila esiphaqeni yikho umitha nje. (You, loose woman is this your first time having sex with an old man?)
"Ngiyabonga lokho owakwenzayo ngokuthatha umkami umenze owakho usithi lijaha umuntu oluphele kangaka."
The one allegedly sent by Ms Moyo's daughter read: "Ngiyakwenyanya, bengiku-thatha njengomzali wami but, eish, by Madue."
Mr Dube, who was at his in-laws' homestead, said he also suspected his first wife was behind the inferno.
He said his hope was that the two women would make peace and live together but would not go back to his homestead until her anger subsided.
"I suspect she did it. I have tried to formally introduce them to each other but they hate each other. Now the situation is very bad but I still wish they can make peace and stay together. I have not gone back home since the fire incident because I want to avoid confrontation," he said.
Contacted for comment, Ms Moyo said she was just being implicated but she was not around on the day the fire occurred.
"I do not know anything about the fire, there is no way I could have gone there at night because we stay far away from each other. I sent those messages because they were also sending some threatening me.
"My daughter also sent a message because she is hurt, that is their father and those people were the first to send text messages provoking my children. As it is I do not know whether I would want to meet that woman again because of the way this issue has been handled," she said.
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