Man co-exists with vicious bees for two years

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The bees, believed to have been more than 100 000, had camped in the kitchen cupboard and roof of House Number 652 but that did not bother the owner of the house who only identified himself as Mr E Ngwenya.

The bees were only driven away on Saturday by the Fire Brigade and a team from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, bringing relief to Mr Ngwenya’s neighbours.

Although Mr Ngwenya has been co-existing with the bees, the same cannot be said of his neighbours.A neighbour identified as Mr Themba Ncube said earlier this month the bees caused terror in the neighbourhood.

“That day they were so vicious, you could hear their buzz from a distance. School kids and those going to work were forced to remain indoors as they attacked anyone on their path,” said Mr Ncube, showing an area above the eye where he was bitten.

Chronicle understands that some people were forced to seek medical attention after the attack, among them an 11-year-old girl who was admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital.A resident only identified as Ncube said he once had a confrontation with the man over the volume of his radio, his crime being that he was disturbing the bees’ sleep.

“I was shocked when he came to my house and told me to lower my volume because the bees wanted to sleep,” said Ncube.

The neighbours said the insects started terrorising residents last month.“Before the bees started being a menace we used to live in peace although we knew that he was keeping them. However, all hell broke loose last month when the bees would come out especially in the mornings and start attacking people,” said another neighbour Mr Xolani Mlambo.

He said it was surprising that the bees never attacked the man.

“It is a mystery to all of us because they never attacked him. This really shows that something is amiss,” said Mr Mlambo.

Chronicle yesterday caught up with the “bee man” who dismissed the witchcraft allegations levelled against him and took a swipe at the suburb’s residents for publicising his private life.

“I have heard people saying things about me over the years and as for the bees I am not surprised because I knew that it was coming,” said Mr Ngwenya, a supervisor of cleaners at Mpilo Central Hospital.

“This house is mine if anyone has a problem with whatever happens at my house they should approach me instead of telling the whole world about my private life.”

Mr Ngwenya said contrary to allegations that he started “keeping” the insects two years ago, the bees settled in his house in February.

“One thing that I’m sure of is that the bees came to my house in February because when I left for holidays in December for my rural home where my family lives they were not there. I found them on my return in February,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said he was aware that the bees were terrorising residents.

“Sometime last week some of my neighbours came to my workplace to tell me that the bees were causing havoc in the suburb and when I got there I found them calm. What I realised is that the anger of the bees was due to provocation from residents as they had burnt tyres all over my yard,” he said.
An official with the Parks who declined to be named said the number of bees that the man was “keeping” was abnormal.

“A colony of 150 000 is rare especially for wild bees because if they were wild bees like what he claims they could have been living in colonies of between 5 000 and 10 000 which is way below that figure,” said the official.

The official said the team also collected 40 litres of honey, which could not have been made within months.A traditional healer from Matshobana suburb Khulu Mkhwananzi said it was rare nowadays to see people using bees for purposes of witchcraft.

“Long ago during the times of our forefathers, people used bees for witchcraft. They would send the bees to attack someone perceived to be an enemy,” said Khulu Mkhwananzi.He also said people could use the bees to “protect” their families from acts of witchcraft.

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