'I touched his lifeless body' - brother of Hillbrow theatre shooting victim

2017-09-07 06:32
Percy Allen Ndlovu (Supplied)

Percy Allen Ndlovu (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – On that fateful Sunday, Master Zama Ndlovu woke up to go to work like he always did.

But instead, he received a call from his uncle telling him that his brother, Percy Allen Ndlovu had been shot. 

“It was like I was dreaming. I did not understand what he was talking about because my brother was not a night rider, he did not drink or smoke, he was not that type of person,” he said.

Percy Allen Ndlovu, 27, a waiter at Mugg & Bean in Boksburg died in his seat at the Hillbrow Theatre on August 27 when a man randomly opened fire on the audience in the early hours of Sunday morning. News24 previously reported that the man took the mic and demanded that his lost phone be returned to him before opening fire. Seven others were injured.

The man has since been arrested and has appeared in court in absentia.

Ndlovu then called his brother's wife, who confirmed that he had gone to the theatre the night before.

'I missed the body'

Ndlovu said his heart sank as he tried to connect the dots and, struggling to accept what had happened, he made his way to the Hillbrow Theatre. When he arrived, the venue was cordoned off and swarming with police.

“I missed the body by one minute because when I was entering the gate, I saw the mortuary vehicle leaving,” he said.

Ndlovu told the police that he was the brother of the deceased and the police took down his statement.

“I asked them to show me where he died because I just could not believe he had died. The chair he was sitting on was folded. They also showed me where he was lying at the passage.

“There was blood all over the stage and I am told that he died instantly.”

He bemoaned the senseless killing, saying his brother was a "good somebody". 

Ndlovu said he asked authorities if he could identify his brother’s body at the mortuary but he was told he could not because it was a Sunday. He was however given a body tag to use in the identification process later.

'I thought he was still alive'

But despite this, Ndlovu said he still made his way to the Hillbrow Clinic with blind hope that his brother might be among the injured.

“Unfortunately, when I got there, they had been taken to another hospital. I wanted to see the body because I thought he was still alive. They said the body was taken to the government mortuary.

“On the day [Monday], I went to move his body from the government mortuary, I wanted to touch him. I touched him and that is when I believed that he was gone.”

Ndlovu said he broke down and cried when he saw his brother’s lifeless body but it was the only way to convince himself that he was dead.

“It was hard but I wanted to make sure that he was gone, gone forever.”

Ndlovu said Percy had a wound under the left side of his chest.

“It was one shot in the heart,” he said.

Ndlovu said he had been told of what had transpired at the theatre when the man took the stage.

“The person who was the programme director then took the mic and said the man had lost his phone, had anyone seen it.”

'He started shooting randomly'

He said the suspect then grabbed the mic and said, “If you do not give me my phone, you will see how many bodies will be lying here.”

The programme director took back the mic and asked the man how much his phone was worth so that he could be given money so that he could buy a new phone.

The man told the crowd that he did not want a new phone because his phone was not expensive.

“He told them that the phone cost him R50 and that he did not want money from anyone.”

The man then fired one shot towards the ceiling.

“Everyone was screaming and he started shooting randomly towards the people,” Ndlovu said.

He said he was not sure whether his brother was shot first or last.

“My brother had bad luck that day. Can you imagine several people were shot that day and they are recovering in hospital right now. I would have at least preferred it if he made it to the hospital. He never made it.”

Ndlovu said what had happened left him shocked and sad.

He said he would miss his brother dearly, especially on Mondays, which they would spend together because they were both off from work.

He said several friends and family had since gathered to raise money to contribute towards the funeral service.

Ndlovu is expected to be buried in Zimbabwe on Sunday.


A memorial service is expected to be held at the same hall that he died in [Hillbrow Theatre] on Friday from 16:00 to 18:30.

“I think it is a good idea to have it here because he died here.”

Ndlovu said he was worried that he might not be able to attend the funeral because he did not have a passport.

“I would love to be part of the funeral, to see him for the last time. How am I going to cross the border without a passport and it costs money to get [one]?”

While the suspect had been arrested after the shooting, Ndlovu said police had been mum about the investigation.

“That guy was taken for mental observation. He is not crazy. Many people know the guy.”

What also saddened Ndlovu was that security at the venue could have been better, he said.

“The guy shot so many shots but nothing was done.”

Ndlovu said the suspect could have been caught before he left the scene.

The family was still reeling in shock, he said.

“Although it won’t bring my brother back, that guy must rot in jail."

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  shootings

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