In happier times, Mr Christopher Mudau and his wife, Ms Tovhowani Masakona. Photo supplied
The community of Madimbo, in the northern parts of Vhembe, has been engulfed by a dark cloud. This follows a shocking incident where a man is alleged to have killed his wife before dousing the house they were sleeping in with petrol and setting it alight.
The incident happened on Sunday morning (18th) at around 07:00. The smoke coming from the house attracted the attention of neighbours, who rushed to the scene to find the house on fire.
The couple, who were both social workers, have been identified as Mr Christopher Mudau (38) and his wife, Ms Tovhowani Masakona (35). Christopher recently relocated to Madimbo after taking up a position at the local Thusong Service Centre. His wife worked at the Musina Hospital.
Circumstances surrounding their deaths are still sketchy, but domestic violence could not be ruled out as neighbours confirmed that the two had quarrelled the previous day. Mr Vhutshilo Ndou, who is a neighbour of the family, said he had been alerted by another neighbour, who was screaming that their neighbour’s house was on fire.
“I rushed there, wearing only my underpants, and managed to break a garage door to gain entry to the house. I managed to rescue the man from the flames. The woman was already dead. She had a big wound to the head and a bloodied piece of iron was lying next to her. The man was rushed to the nearby clinic, but unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries,” he said.
Ndou added that he had not been able to sleep since the incident, saying it kept on rewinding in his mind. “I have never seen something like this in my life. I am still in shock as I was used to the family. I wonder what will become of the children as they had three children. Our hearts are torn apart,” Ndou said.
The local traditional leader, Vhamusanda Vho-Thiwelimulambo Rammbuda, expressed his sadness about the incident. “We are devastated as a community. Social workers are the ones we rely on when we have problems, and we do not know where to run to when they kill each other. We urge our people not to go to the extremes of taking their lives when faced with problems. We still have faith in social workers and other experts, and let us make use of them,” he said.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Malesela Ledwaba confirmed the incident. “Preliminary investigations revealed that one of the partners, a 38-year-old man, had sent his son to buy petrol at the local filling station for the generator that morning. Upon his return, the man sent him again to the shop to buy some food at the local market stalls. When the boy came back, he was apparently surprised to see his family house on fire, surrounded by people,” said Col Ledwaba.
He added that the motive for the incident would be determined by the unfolding investigations, but domestic violence could not be ruled out as the couple allegedly had differences the previous night. “We have since opened inquest dockets and investigations are continuing,” Ledwaba said.
Date:22 December 2022
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.