A pantsula’s pain

Christinah Motlhabane
MISADVENTURE: Fire gutted 49 cars

The face of the dessert fire disaster speaks

As thick dark smoke choked the air while car after car went up in flames at the Jwaneng Desert Race on Sunday afternoon, for one young man, it was almost too much to bear.

24-year-old Khuthala Moyo found himself trending on social media as he was filmed falling to the ground in despair, breaking down as he watched helplessly while his precious Toyota Caldina burnt to cinders.

Weeping in the dry grass dangerously close to the raging fire, the disconsolate Gakuto native had to be pulled away from the flames by a worried onlooker concerned he might catch fire himself.

Moyo’s heartache became the face of the disaster in which 49 vehicles were destroyed in the inferno, thought to have been caused by a wayward spark from one of the vendors’ braai stand.

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Speaking to The Voice the next day, the young pantsula revealed he went temporarily mad with the pain of watching his car, his source of living, disappear before his very eyes.

“I was taken to Jwaneng Mine Hospital where I was treated and discharged as I nearly lost my mind. I was so confused the nurses had to explain to me why I was there,” says Moyo, adding he intends to return to the clinic as he is still struggling emotionally.

Explaining why he got so upset, Moyo, who is a pantsula under Metsimothabe branch, tells The Voice his car was his main source of income.

“I bought it last year for P19,000 from someone then installed sound worth P5,000. I used it to care for my two children as I was transporting people with it, like the pantsulas going to perform somewhere then paying me. Now I am left with nothing!”

As well as his vehicle, Moyo lost his expensive pantsula gear, Huawei YS phone and P600 cash that was in the car.

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To add to Moyo’s anguish, he only ended up in Jwaneng as a last minute thing.

He had originally been transporting Hlophani Pantsula Group to Lobatse where they were performing. After the performance, they asked for a lift to the Desert Race, promising to pay well.

“I decided to take them there as I needed money to pay rent and also to buy some things for my children.”

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It was the same Hlophani members that managed to track Moyo down to the clinic and together they hitchhiked back to Gabz.

By the time he was dropped off at SupaSave in Mogoditshane, his face was already famous and someone recognised him from the circulating video.

“That is when I noticed I am trending on social media. I wish the Good Samaritans can help me in this situation. I have already received two calls from people who want to assist me,” discloses Moyo, adding he was also given P1,900 by well-wishers touched by his plight.

Although there have been anonymous promises made on Facebook pledging to donate a Honda Fit to Moyo, the stricken man said he was yet to receive any concrete information regarding this.

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