Cape Town Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp, who died after a black mamba bit him earlier this week, will be cremated in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, on Thursday, according to his family.
Judge Anton Steenkamp died in the northern Zambian town of Mpika on Monday after being bitten by a black mamba while camping in the bush. He and his wife, Catherine, were halfway through a three-month overland trip to Rwanda and back.
In a statement released on behalf of the family, Andrew Brown said Steenkamp’s body was taken from the remote part of Zambia, where Steenkamp was bitten, to Lusaka on Wednesday evening.
“In accordance with his wishes, Anton will be cremated in Lusaka and his ashes brought home by his wife,” said Brown.
The black mamba is by far the largest venomous snake in Africa with a maximum length of 4.5 m (specimens over 3.8 m are rare). Despite its reputation it is by no means an aggressive snake but actually a shy, elusive snake that is quick to escape but will not hesitate to strike repeatedly if cornered.
It is active during the day, often basking near a hole in an anthill or large rock crevice where it quickly disappears into if disturbed. When threatened it will gape exposing the black inner lining of the mouth and it may form a narrow hood.
The venom of this snake is potently neurotoxic and may cause difficulty with breathing within half an hour. Symptoms include a numbness of the lips, slurred speech, ptosis and progressive weakness. Antivenom is effective but often required in large quantities (10 – 15 vials).