By Everson Luhanga

A 26-year-old man, Sakhe Qomiyana, started a shack blaze in Alexandra because his girlfriend refused to give him money to buy Umqombothi.

He is now lying in a hospital bed in agony – from burn wounds and bruises from a beating at the hands of angry community members.

Sakhe’s girlfriend Zimkhitha Phindani told Scrolla.Africa that her boyfriend nearly killed her and their two daughters. “I don’t love him anymore.

“I don’t want to see him again. He is so cruel. 

“I hope he recovers but his family must get him professional help,” she said.

She said she thanks God every time she looks at her daughters who escaped death in the inferno.


Zimkhitha said Sakhe would not take no for an answer when he asked her for money to buy Umqombothi. “When I told him that I cannot give him money, he threatened to commit suicide, then said he would burn me and my two daughters in our shack,” she said.

She said that while they were still arguing:

• I saw him leave the shack with a petrol jug

• After a while, he came back smelling of petrol

• I knew trouble was about to happen

• I quickly grabbed my two children and dashed out 

• He splashed the petrol over the shack and set it alight

Zimkhitha said that another 23 shacks burned down too, so Sakhe’s love for Umqombothi resulted in dozens of people being left homeless in the cold night.

But Sakhe ended the night in pain after gatvol community members beat him up.

This was not Sakhe’s first troubling incident.

Zimkhitha said that Sakhe once took rat poison after the couple had quarrelled. He landed up in hospital, lucky to survive.

A close friend of Sakhe said “he aimed to burn his own shack but other families were caught in the crossfire and became victims”.

Alexandra police spokesman Sergeant Simphiwe Mbatha confirmed the incident. “Police will take action once we have a registered case,” said Sergeant Mbatha.

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