A 20-year-old man from Bulawayo was devastated when he found out that the money he had saved had been eaten by rats and destroyed by rust.

Philip Sibanda’s world turned upside down as he cracked open his piggy banks, only to find shreds of rusted notes.

Unable to come to terms with the situation, Sibanda who resides in Pumula South, set his room on fire in a desperate bid to end his life on 12 February.

Fortunately, Philip was swiftly rescued by co-tenants and rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital with severe burns. Friends who spoke to B-Metro said he had been stashing away cash in his home, hoping to accumulate a substantial sum for a ‘big thing’.

While the exact amount of money lost by Sibanda remains unconfirmed, acquaintances mentioned that he had been putting away money since last year, consisting of R100, US$10, and US$20 notes. Sibanda had intentionally avoided counting his money regularly to resist the temptation of spending it.

A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, shared the despairing scene, stating,

“Imagine the overwhelming despair when he finally opened his piggy bank and saw scraps of torn bank notes, rusted and useless money with rat droppings…”

Sibanda’s co-tenant, Tsungirirai Ranganai, disclosed that he had confided in those close to him about his depression upon discovering his ruined savings. The day before the incident, Sibanda returned home intoxicated, seeking $5 to purchase a meal. Later that night, he returned and caused a ruckus.

‘’I woke up around 2am going to the toilet and decided to pass by Philip’s room and check on his condition, he said he was feeling okay but thought he was having a severe bout influenza. I advised him to drink warm water,” Ranganai narrated.

She said she went to sleep.

“I was awakened by Philip shouting ‘Vukani Sokusile! Phumani phandle!’ (Wake up it’s now morning! Go outside! At the top of his voice,” she said.

At around 5 am, Ranganai sent her son to investigate the commotion, only to discover that Sibanda had set fire to the house.

Mazanhi Gumi, Ranganai’s husband, shared that Sibanda, engulfed in flames, expressed his desire to end his life. After Gumi managed to extinguish the fire, Sibanda attempted to flee but he did not make it far as he was already badly burnt on his back and other crucial parts of the body.

Gumi also sustained burns on his back while rescuing Sibanda. Concerned neighbours promptly contacted the police, fire brigade, and a Bulawayo City Council ambulance to ensure that Sibanda received the necessary medical attention.

Mr. Nicodema, the landlord and a relative of Sibanda, was informed of the incident and promptly arrived to assess the damage.

‘’I came hours ago only to find out that about three doors at my house have been destroyed and that includes my bedroom and dining room,” he lamented.

As of the time of writing, Sibanda remains in the hospital, continuing his recovery.