The Afternoon I Almost Got Killed: My Near-Death Encounter with Street Kids in Limbe


Dead men tell no tales! I’m glad to have survived to raise awareness. We live in dangerous times, and the devil is working overtime—mostly against potential.

So, I was reporting for a new job somewhere in the Lower Shire on a railway project. After years of toiling in the name of ‘accumulating experience,’ this seemed like a way out of the chain of poverty.

I was so excited. Apparently, the devil was not.

I left Lilongwe on Saturday for Blantyre and spent the night at a friend’s house. My plan was to leave for Nsanje on Monday and start work on Tuesday, the 1st of November.

On Sunday afternoon, I wanted to start preparing for the journey. You know, a bachelor should have some cash for travel and a few essential things. Zoyambila. Ka mattress. Ti mapoto tiwili. Ka cup kamodzi. Ti mafuta tophikila plus bigiri ya bonya Ndi soya pieces 15.

I use FDH’s cardless withdrawal, so I had to go to an ATM belonging to the bank at Kapenga, in Limbe.

Limbe was deserted. With the shops closed, only a few children and some beggars sat on the verandas. They seemed harmless when I first passed them. I thought they were like the people in Lilongwe — calm and polite in their begging. A mistake! A very grave one, as I later learnt.

On my way back, a guy about 19 years old ran and stood in front of me.

“Ase. Tatigaileko Thu Pini (2 thousand Malawi Kwacha”

Before I could respond, two more guys arrived. These were younger, around 13 to 14 years old. 

“Ndifetu aziphwanu. Sitingamavutike mtown muno inu mkumasangalala Ndi mahule”

I was slow in processing the situation. I had been told countless times that if confronted by such individuals, I should give them what they wanted. But in the midst of listening to their demands and planning my next move, they sensed my hesitation. They thought I wouldn’t comply, and that’s when things began to escalate.

The 19 year old guy grabbed me on my neck. “Surely this one can’t beat me”, I assured myself. I quickly moved out of his grip. The kids grabbed my hand that I was holding my phone with – their goal was to snatch it from me. I couldn’t part with my phone easily. I had to put up a fight, another mistake. Soon, I was surrounded. About 9 to 12 youngsters had appeared out of nowhere and encircled me. Most were about 12 to 13 years old, except for three who were around 19 or 20.

The older boys grabbed my hands while the younger ones alternated between beating me and picking my pockets. They used whatever they could find to disarm me – their prey, mostly using rocks to disempower me. They repeatedly hit my head.

“Guys mutha kutenga kalikonse but ndisiyeni Ndi moyo. Musandiphe (Guys, take everything but spare my life. Don’t kill me).” That’s when they struck me harder, accusing me of trying to sound “ozindikila”.

When they realized they had emptied my pockets, they retreated back to their usual verandas along the shops that stream the Kapenga street. They sat, acting all innocently as if nothing had happened.

My t-shirt was drenched with blood! I began feeling disoriented – from the beating to my head received resulted in a near-concussion.

When I gained sense of what had just happened, my mind was on my driver’s license. After going through so much trouble getting that card; and and the national ID. You know how hard it is to have that renewed in Malawi. I had to have those back.

Summoning my courage, I said, “Achibale. Mu wallet mo muli national ID Ndi license. Chonde ndipaseni mutenge zotsalazo”.

I should have known better.

“Aaah Kodi ase udakali pompano? Ndiwe chitsilu eti? Tikuphatu…” They grabbed more rocks and started petting them at me. Reality hit me. Realising their determiniation and recalling my beating just a few minutes earlier, I knew they were right. I was being foolish. I had to run. 

So, I ran for my life. I thank God I didn’t lose consciousness. According to a friend who’s a medical student, I could have died on the spot considering the blood I had lost and the beating my head had endured.

I rushed to Limbe Malawi Police, and they ensured I went to Limbe Health Centre, where my wounds were cleaned and stitched. Coupled with the prayers of family, friends, and acquaintances, this is what has kept me alive to this day.

Please be safe out there. It’s not just about walking at night. I was assaulted soon after 5. Dzuwa Lili phwee.