Thursday, June 20, 2024

Five SDA Youths drown in Lake Kariba while on a five year retreat


Five Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church youths who had gone to Siavonga as part of a larger grouping for a five-day New Year retreat have died on Lake Kariba.

The five are have died when they failed to swim ashore after jumping into the largest man-made lake.

According to the statement released to the media by the Youth Communication Chairperson Lusaka Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist, Mr Innocent Siachitoba, the accident happened yesterday (1st January 2022) around 16: 00 hours.

Details are that the youths found a fishing ridge parked by the shores of the lake and decided to jump on it. As the operator of the same ridge started off into the lake, the youths started jumping off for safety, it was at that point that the accident happened.

Mr. Siachitoba name the deceased youths and their mission districts are as Goodson Hamaila – John Laing Main Church (John Laing Mission District), Niza Muchiliba Los Angeles (Kanyama Mission District), Zebron Shitambo – John Laing Central (John Laing Mission District), Ronald Libuku – John Laing North (John Laing Mission District), and Rodwell Chileshe – John Laing (John Laing Mission District)

Five bodies have since been retrieved.


  1. This simply careless for everyone involved, it is a pity that we are still in this mentality of not cherishing and protecting lives. The person operating the fishing ridge must be arrested and tried for murder. Whatever happened for the young people to end up on the fishing ridge does not matter but someone should have been responsible enough to make sure the young people disembarked fishing ridge before starting off. The young people panicked and now it resulted in deaths. I feel for their parents and may their soul rest in peace.

  2. Tragic! But it’s also an indictment on the leadership in the SDA Church. These outings have usually resulted in tragedies in which lives have lost so this isn’t an isolated incident, apart from the unsavory incidents that are always reported whenever Adventists gather for their annual camp meetings. It’s clear that this practice has failed and must therefore be boldly revisited. When Archbishop Dennis de Jong noticed that the practice of choirs to sing overnight at funerals had become a vehicle for promiscuity, he made a bold decision and banned them despite initial resistance from some members within the Catholic Church. He saved the Church from embarrassment. The SDA can do the same. otherwise we should expect more of such premature deaths

  3. @The Observer, why should the operator be arrested? What did he do wrong?

    The young men died because they couldn’t swim. No one told them or forced them to do what they did. Let’s not arrest innocent people for poor choices made by the deceased lads.

  4. It’s sad, very sad. It’s a sign of leadership failure in the SDA Church. In Lusaka West, the SDA church camps in what used to be a protected forest and wetland whose underground springs used to feed the once perennial Chuunga river nearby. And yet in the same church they preach about the Back-to-Eden doctrine which insists on the power of plants to heal disease.

  5. This was sheer negligence how were children without swimming experience allowed to jump on the rig without a guide, no life jackets. Water is very dangerous only close to fire. Those responsible must be made to account for their actions. Its like church leaders have not learnt lesson from past accidents where children lost their lives after church outing activities. We had a similar incident where a number children died after church outing to Luanshya and on their way back to Chifubu during the MMD regime. And another where children from Kafue on study trip to a play park died in New Kasama area.

  6. My understanding is that the operator did not give chance to those young people to safely get off the fishing ridge before he started off. Unless I misunderstood that. I mean someone must be held responsible for the tragedy.

  7. Good Afternoon. Why mislead us with your headline that it was a five year retreat and yet the article refers to five days? Please be more careful in your reporting.

  8. Tragic but I also see it like #3 Phil – why prosecute the ridge operator as if he’s the one that enticed the youths to get on board? Why did’nt they disembark before the ridge started off for the lake? Most of all, why jump into the water if you know you can’t swim? It would have been safer for them to stay on board until the ridge reached it’s destination. In an emergency, you can save your life by simply being calm and patient than when you panic.

  9. Its shocking how we are careless with lives. To date, how many bus operators are saving jail time, drunk careless drivers, fraudsters…..? The list is endless. Courts and prisons are only full of political cadres. Someone needs to save time for negligence.
    Side note. We should have swimming taught in schools, its a good life saving skill to have. Parents also need to take it up on themselves to teach there children how to swim. Just like first aid, swimming can save a life.

  10. We are very sorry for that and may the bereaved families get their peace settled. As we continue growing together in Christ. Waiting for the advent.

    Am Brian Okinyi Otieno in Kenya currently in Mt Kenya university. We have a WhatsApp platform (quara) where we do present devotional thoughts everyday . Typically ist for the adventists and the non adventists are also welcomed. If interested WhatsApp me +254743623162.

    Let’s continue encouraging one another biblically as we wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ . Advent.

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