27 January 2017
. . . broncleer abuse sighted as cause of death
TRAFFIC came to standstill in Johannesburg’s Windsor East suburb near Randburg as hundreds of Zimbabwean immigrants mainly youths conducted a street funeral befitting royalty on Wednesday afternoon.
They were mourning the passing away of Jeffrey Bizabani, popularly known as Jeff Bizzy or Makudo Boss. The enterprising young man earned a living through sweets-vending and at times trading of Broncleer after hours.
The funeral brought together Zimbabweans from all walks life including soccer players, pastors, vapostori, beer drinkers, weed smokers and beauty therapists as they were united in mourning the affable young man.
Jeff was also a Zimdancehall chanter and backing vocalist of his artist brother Milton Bizabani aka Thunderforce and is very popular in the Jozi dancehall circles. The two brothers have featured in music videos that are available on YouTube.
“It is high-time that the whole world including Zimbabwe knows that this cough mixture is bad and youths should stop using it,” said Louisa a sister to the deceased.
“It is painful to lose a brother especially in this way and vanonzwa dai vanzwawo zveshuwa kuti mushonga uyu unokuvadza,” she added as tears rolled down her cheeks.
The 25-year-old Zimbabwean-born lad passed away last Sunday afternoon. Although there was no post-mortem report present, his kith and kin confirmed his premature death could have been the result of prolonged use of cough mixture Broncleer popularly known as Bronco in street lingo.
While the syrup is supposed to be used to alleviate coughs, abusers take it in large quantities as it makes one high. Continuous use results in an addiction with deadly consequences. In South Africa the medicine can be bought over the counter but it is a Schedule 2 drug and medical authorities have a duty to take down details of buyers for easy monitoring. This rarely happens. Broncleer is banned in Zimbabwe although it’s readily available in almost all high and low-density areas in Harare.
Broncleer contains codeine which, when taken in excess amounts, causes acute constipation, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth and confusion. Prolonged abuse can cause circulatory failure, breathing problems and one can slip into a coma according to medical experts.
Speaker after speaker at the funeral agreed that the abuse of the syrup is bad but not many agreed quit. Some youths came with bottles of unopened Broncleer that were put on top of the coffin in remembrance of their ‘hero’.
“Jeff was just a happy person and never fought with anyone. Tauya kuzomuchema tirikurwadziwa so we want to celebrate him,” said one friend called Yellow as he held two bottles of the cough mixture.
In his eugology, best friend Kuda “Bhawa” Moyo chronicled their friendship after a short “clucks” dance session that had everyone appreciating.
“This young man who is inside the house was one of the best dancers I have ever met. Hapana aitambirana naye Makudo Boss. Mushonga taidira tese, taijaivha tese. Pamusika wake ma sweets taipihwa emahara, Jeff ainakirwa 24/7. Ini ndaimbonwa mushonga but ndakaregera, I drink beer but I can’t say doro rakanaka. Kune vachirikunwa mushonga vakomana dai taregera or tazama kusiya. Hatizive kuti ndozvatora Jeff Bizzy here izvi?” he immediately broke down into tears cutting his speech short. Madzibaba Coby from the neighbourhood sang Vakanaka Ndovanoenda Zvavo in an attempt to lighten the sombre mood that was prevailing.
Pastor Kelvin Zivavose then gave a short sermon urging all present to repent and seek Jesus.
“Some of you are walking but you are dead. There is no resting in peace ukafa usina Jesu. You need to repent today,” said the pastor amid cheers and ululation before the body viewing session. An aunt to the deceased gave a moving tribute that brought a deathly silence among the mourners.
“Mwana wangu Jeff ndinofara akafa aakuziva Mwari. Akandidaidza akati amai ndinamatire. Ndakangoti Jesu mwana wako uyo. Kufema kwakanga kwaakumunetsa akaenda ari mumaoko angu aya,” she said. Master of ceremonies Justin Kariko Moyo pleaded with the youth to do the right thing and follow the “good path”. Moyo was the one who rushed the deceased to a private hospital in South Rand with the hope he would be resuscitated but it was too late.
As the funeral cortege was leaving the house for Zimbabwe, cars with horns blurring and spinning on the streets brought the suburb to a standstill. Bottles of Broncleer were sprinkled on the trailer carrying the coffin while some of the youthful mourners dangled precariously on the Toyota Quantum that was pulling the trailer.
Onlookers peeped through high-rise blocks of flats for the spectacle as the cortege moved around the suburb with Zimdancehall tunes blurring at high volume. They accompanied the body with fire cans and cigarette lighters for about two kilometres before joining the freeway to Zimbabwe.
A mini demonstration was then held at the doorstep of a pharmacy that was accused of selling the cough mixture with the demonstrators singing Ndimi Makauraya directed at the pharmacy’s South African attendants.
Jeff Bizzy will be buried this morning in his home village in Chief Zvimba’s area. While he may be gone his death has brought a reality check to hundreds other youth addicted to this potentially deadly drug if abused.