Debauchery at the Sentinel. Tragedy of a gambler, dangling from the roof

Zimbabwe Digital News


The tragedy of Zimbabwean life in the diaspora was laid bare in the most gruesome form yet this week, after the body of a Zimbabwean man, believed to be from Plumtree, was found dangling from the roof of Hillbrow’s notorious Sentinel block of flats.

And the body hung there, like a piece of washing, for six hours, causing a huge public spectacle until the Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services removed it, much to the horror of the Johannesburg public who turned their gaze to look, and shook their heads in disbelief at what had become of survival in the dog-eat-dog world of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

The actual details of how the unfortunate guy died, and was hung out as if to dry, are unclear.

But from what this newspaper has managed to piece together, the victim was reportedly a member of a gambling syndicate which breached the security codes at one of the biggest gambling companies in South Africa. (name of the company withheld).

How they breached the betting codes, when exactly they breached them, who did the coding, how the network operated, who was running it and so on, may never be fully disclosed, as this is now a matter of police investigation.

But the sheer intelligence of how the Zimbabwean syndicate coded, mathematically, and successfully breached complex betting sequences, binaries and algorithms is undoubted on social media, to the point where, if this victim had not been brutally bludgeoned to death–and especially the manner in which he died –  this gambling feat of achievement could reach, and surpass by miles, even the legend of the great train robbery, by far.

People who commit suicide do not tie their feet together, with a piece of wire

What is not in doubt, however is that the victim was asleep in his flat in the middle of the night on Tuesday when he received a call from a mysterious number, and was asked to “come outside…”. That was the last time that he was seen alive.

The thread on social media is suggesting that the syndicate harvested cash in the region of R600 000 (the figures themselves are in dispute).

But what is clear that the unfortunate victim was reportedly the conduit, whose role at the end of the chain was to collect the loot, at some point regroup with his colleagues, and share the cash.

However the cash was never shared according to the plan, as it is trending on social media, that the victim salted away a large chunk of it for himself, and had only availed to his comrades, slices of the original package, a matter which reportedly infuriated his mates, leading to the dispute, and with deadly results.

Hours later, his body was seen curiously hanging from the roof at the Sentinel.

What newspapers like the Sowetan of Johannesburg is reporting is only a small fraction of this sordid affair.

People who commit suicide do not tie their feet together with a piece of wire, and the position of the body in relation to the roof does not suggest a willful suicide, where one was going to jump by himself, with wire tied around his neck.

Maybe the details of the death will be revealed in court as it is believed that Hillbrow police made some arrests of some of the alleged perpetrators (or is it the gambling syndicate).

Hillbrow is without doubt one of the roughest places for Zimbabweans living in the diaspora. Thousands live here. Suicides no longer make the news here, because people frequently throw themselves over balconies, and death itself has ceased to make the front pages.

Only last week this newspaper reported that increasing numbers of Zimbabweans were dying in South Africa, and business is brisk for funeral undertakers.

Violence and disease in South Africa: Zimbabweans die in numbers

No-one deserves to meet the fate that befell the 24-year-old victim in this report, and no-one is saying that he was a gambler. Let not even the statement: there is no honour among thieves come in, and even if life has been cheapened among the Zimbabwean communities, this, by any standards exceeds debauchery, as human beings deserve to treat themselves better than animals in the jungle.

The jazz lyrics by Kenny Rogers in the song: The Gambler, ring true.

Every gambler knows that

If you’re gonna play the game, you gotta learn to play it right. You got to know,  when to hold your gambling cards, and know when to fold them.

More importantly you go to know when to walk away, and when to run.

You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table, there will be enough time for counting when the dealing is done.

Every gambler knows that the secret to surviving, is knowing what to throw away, and knowing what to keep.

Because every hand is a winner and every hand is a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.





People who commit suicide do not tie their feet together with a piece of wire, and the position of the body in relation to the roof does not suggest a willful suicide, where one was going to jump by himself, with wire tied around his neck.


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