Man Shamed For Harvesting Honey In Grave, Takes Own Life

By Judith Sibanda


Nkayi, June 10, 2016 – AN elderly man from Nkayi in Matabeleland North province committed suicide after he was fined a cow by a traditional court for desecrating a grave while hunting for honey.


Ntandane Ncube (68) of Sibuyu from Chief Tshugulu was found hanging from a tree near a Roman Catholic Church  on Tuesday morning, a day after he appeared at the local traditional court together with his son Sisa for violating Nikisi Nzima’s grave.


The two were reportedly caught red-handed desecrating the grave at night last month.


Villagers said Ncube was selling the honey to unsuspecting people in the area.


“He would harvest the honey at night after digging the grave,” said Walter Sibanda, one of Chief Tshugulu’s assistants.


“He sold the honey for $1 a tin but no one, including his wife knew where it was coming from.


“However, after sometime the Nzima family noticed that their father’s grave had been desecrated after dogs started bringing his bones home.


“The family reported the matter to the chief and we advised them to set up an ambush at night.”


He said at the beginning of last month, Ncube and his son were caught digging the grave at night and they were dragged to the traditional court.


“We did not report the matter to the police because it was unique and we decided to try them at the village court,” Sibanda said.


“Ncube and his son were fined one beast each payable over three months but the old man went on to hang himself the same night.”


Some villagers said they believed Ncube had been shamed by the incident, which led him to committing suicide. They said his wife had also deserted him.


His body was found by villagers following a search and the case was reported to the police. Ncube hanged himself using a wire. 


He reportedly left behind a suicide note where he revealed that he was shamed by his actions, which he blamed on poverty. 


Although Matabeleland North police could not reached for comment, Chief Tshugulu confirmed Ncube’s death.