Mthabisi Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondent
“During his last days, he didn’t want any of his friends around which was unlike him and he never really spoke. Honestly he was just quiet.”

This is a depiction of a 16-year-old Franklin Thabiso Nyoni, by his grandmother. Franklin died on June 10 at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and is one of the 13 people who have died as a result of the Luveve water crisis.

An aspiring electrical engineer, Franklin was doing Form 4 at Emakhandeni High School.

Constance Samukeliso Moyo, his grandmother, remembers how the teenager’s last days were dark as he was holed up to himself.

Societal beliefs say that every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.

For every individual who has lost a close relative or a loved one, the feeling of seeing one of their loved ones on their deathbed is a memory that does not just erase from their mind.

“On why he did not want his friends around I am sure that he didn’t want them feeling sorry for him as that would break his and their hearts seeing him in that state,” said Moyo.

Moyo says her heart is still heavy over how her grandson passed away, what council authorities have said relates to an outbreak of typhoid and dysentery.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it is yet to establish the source of the outbreak but residents blame the local authority for pumping contaminated water to households. Some families have said they would demand compensation from council.

“Franklin was sick for a week and during that time he did show signs of getting better till one Sunday evening where he just wasn’t the same.

“On Monday he was admitted and on Tuesday they placed an oxidant on him and then on Wednesday he was gone. He passed on at Mpilo Hospital and the date was June 10,” says the woman who is seeking justice for one of her favourite grandchildren. He was an O-Level pupil who focused on sciences and was supposed to write examinations in subjects that include Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computers, Accounts, Geography, English and Mathematics.

“This is because he wanted to take electrical engineering and I am sure with his determination he would definitely have been a great one,” she says.

As an extracurricular activity Franklin was into public speaking and debate, a sign of confidence.

He also was a die-hard fan of Bulawayo giants Highlanders.

“My grandson was into public speaking and debate. Also he took soccer as sport that he loved and loved Highlanders locally and Manchester City in the English Premier League and I’m sure he would have loved to see his team take second position in the EPL.

“He dreamt big about his life after school and wanted to keep advancing in his dreams,” said Moyo.

In his spare time, Franklin watched Steve Harvey’s Family Feud show, a television game show where two families compete to provide the most popular responses to survey questions in order to win various prizes. — @mthabisi_mthire.