By Simba Chikanza | After driving off with the lion carcass worth a whopping USD40,000, the Zimbabwe National Parks has refused to compensate a Chisumbanje mother, Tendai Chijakara who was viciously attacked by a lion while carrying her 8 month old baby on her back, on the morning of the 13th July this year.
Tendai Chijakara (42) was attacked by the male lion with its claws which caused large perforations at her side of the abdomen.
“I am lucky only due to God’s hand,” she tells ZimEye.
She says she had travelled towards nearby homesteads to do some debt collections when she met the male lion face to face, while others were fleeing into their houses.
Her baby was on her back at the time of the attack during which she says she survived by constantly looking at the cat into its eye, so to make it shy.
“I looked at it straight in the eye, which shine; they shine like fire,” she says.
She begins her account saying: “I am Tendai Chijakara, I am the one involved with the lion on the 13th of July; I have my child here, Welma Chijakara who I was carrying on my back, when the lion pushed me down; it had run towards me, after coming into our neighbourhood to a house where it was first spotted; I was coming from collecting debts, that’s when I heard people shouting that there is a lion somewhere, so when the lion heard the sound of a vehicle in the road, it jumped the fence and started running towards me.
“When it charged towards me, it pushed me down, I was carrying my baby, who is 8 months old, Welma Chijakara, who I am holding right now; when it made me fall, my baby then sat down.
“I had now fallen into a kneeling position and when that happened, the lion started to stomp on top of my body. So at that time I remembered what the elders have told us that when a lion confronts you, what you do is to look at it straight in the eye; doing this will make it shy away, at that time my child was sitting away about 1 m apart; she was crying wondering what on earth is happening to me.
“At that time I was praying to God saying that it is better that the lion eat me up instead of my child, who doesn’t know anything.
“While I was praying like that the lion’s eyes were shining like fire; I had to encourage myself to remain resolute, but I knew it that this is the end of my life, because it has never happened before; you know well that a lion is a beast, it devours people… It started to walk on me, and pushed me down three times.
“On the 2nd time of pushing me, I woke up and looked at it straight in the eye again, saying to myself, for me to stand up and run away, I am worried for my child, and I said I would rather wait for it; It then hit me with its head, and started to scratch me all over and to lick me.
“When I rose up, I now had saliva all over my face; it started licking me all over, wondering how to eat me up, while covering my face.
“There was a time when both our faces crashed into each other, while it was deliberately trying to shut off my ability to look at it in the eye; it was deliberately blocking my eyesight using its furs.
“While all this was happening, at end it started to roar loudly, getting frustrated wondering why it was difficult for it to devour me; it started opening its large mouth; its teeth sort of enlarged, and I said to God, if it is my time to die, it doesn’t matter, my grave will be its tummy.
“I just braved up against it. After that, it continued looking at me; while staring at me, its eyes are shining, the lion’s eyes are very bright as if full of fire.
“While doing that, that is when it then came after me this time with full force; it could have removed all my intestines, I could have died right there. I was sleeping from the side, that’s when it started to gore into my flesh pulling chunks out of my body, while pocking in with its large claws.
“So at that time, that’s when it then rose up and began running away towards other people, after discovering that it has failed me.
“At that point, that’s when I rose up, picked up my child and ran into the house.”
At that point, it did not take 2 minutes, the lion came back after noticing that there was no prey as people had ran into their houses;
“This is how I escaped death, it’s not because I fought it in any way. It is God who intervened, my time had not come, if not for that, I would have died; we were just the three of us, the lion, my child, and I; So it injured me badly, I went to the police station, got a letter and went to the hospital; after going to the hospital, until they gave me some injections, and some parasets, and they told me they have no medication. They said to me the wounds require me to be admitted…”
The Department of National Parks has said they cannot provide compensation because the government has no money.
In a letter seen by ZimEye, the Nat Parks further claimed they were not aware of the incident until this month.
“This is unacceptable, Nat Parks cannot do this,” said the Director of Pumulani Africa Women Against Violence, Comfort Dondo.
She commented over the value of the lion’s carcass, saying it goes into the tens of thousands, and could be sold to pay the victim’s expenses.
ZimEye is following up on the case. (Refresh this page for more updates) VIDEO LOADING BELOW…