Caterpillar: A delicacy amongst most Zambians
Caterpillar: A delicacy amongst most Zambians

A 51-year-old woman of Nkeyema district in Western Province has died after being beaten bitten by a snake as she was picking caterpillars in the bush while three others have survived.

Nkeyema Ward Councilor Kent Mukonda confirmed that Jennipher Ngebe met her fate when she and four others, who included two men and two women, ventured into the bush to pick caterpillars.
Mr Mukonda said that the incidence happened on Wednesday in Kaulembi area which is located in Nkeyema district’s Lombelombe Resettlement Scheme north-east of the district administrative centre.

He said that Ms Ngebe died after being beaten by a snake locally known as ngongola because she did not immediately receive medical attention as the villagers had gone deep in the thicket in search of caterpillars.

In separate incidences, three other caterpillar pickers survived the snake bite with the intervention of traditional medicines which were quickly administered on them.

Mr Mukonda warned those picking caterpillars, which are a delicacy amongst most Zambians, to be wary of the dangers involved in harvesting the larva locally known as maungu.

Hordes of caterpillar traders, mainly from Lusaka and the Copperbelt, have swarmed Nkeyema district where they are exchanging the dried larva with goods ranging from second-hand clothes to sugar and salt.

And Nkeyema district administrative officer, Patrick Mweemba, has warned people in the district to concentrate on farming instead of picking caterpillars.

Mr Mweemba said that the low rainfall experienced in the last farming season should have been a lesson for people in the district and urged them to start preparing their fields early in case of a repeat of a poor rain pattern.

He said that very soon caterpillars will varnish and people will have nothing to feed on for the rest of the year which will result in perpetual hunger as the little money they are getting from the business will not sustain them.

Mr Mweemba, who regretted the death of the woman, said the current hunger situation in the district should be a wake-up call that people need to engage in more sustainable businesses other than picking caterpillars.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. “…after being beaten by a snake…”
    What game was she playing with the snake in which she was beaten and died? Ummmm, LT.
    Now, learn from me if it was a snake bite, please write BITTEN when a similar thing happens in future!!!!

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  2. Guy there is no master in the queen s language ok! Tho this guy writes as if he didn’t do his grade nine!!!!! Too bad old lady its a sad to the family.

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  3. First time reading about Nkeyema district and have no idea where it is. How many villages have been turned in districts anyway? Please someone help, what is Ngongola in English? LT please translate these local terms so people can understand what you are trying to communicate.

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  4. TBZ (now Nkeyema) & generally Kaoma east was the breadbasket of the western province but subsequent govts hellbent on decimating barotseland have killed this agriculture. Then the Nkoyas want to blame the Litunga. You guys do an interahamwe (fight together but not in the hutu sense) if you are to give back that blessed region its pride. Lusaka does not give no shit about you.

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  5. It is sad for the poor woman to have lost her life while trying to do something to earn a living, but very bad for journalists who care very little about the articles they write in sloppy English. It is very common these days for journalist to even air on radio and other electronic media very poorly researched topics.
    They fail to emulate the performance of their counterparts in the developed world. Any way “tuli batifi “

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  6. Sorry for the woman who lost her life. The writer seems to be ignorant by saying that others who were also bitten by the snake survived using using special local medicine. One or two snakes do not bite several people because people run when one person is bitten. He mentions that the survivors got medication in time. Total lies. Find the medicine man who helped the other women so that Zambia can use his medicine to help other Zambians in the future. Medicine is kept a secret when the owner knows it does not work. Secret medicine men in Zambia are just con-men.

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