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.

Anton Steenkamp in Missisi, Mozambique on a recent bike trip. Photo: FACEBOOK

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).

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37 COMMENTS

    • Our friends are adventurous. I wish I could go on such an adventure. They should have prepared for all contingencies though on such a trip. They must have been in the deep bush to encounter such a snake. So sorry they didn’t get to complete their adventure. It was probably their life’s dream to take such a trip. Wishing the wife well.

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  1. And snakes are what the masquerades are in this country, they will kill all of us.

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  2. Sincerest condolences, we need to take deaths due to snake bite very, very seriously. I’ve seen so many people lose their limbs due to being bitten by a venomous snake.

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    • This was one of our lesson today in a community safety and first aid training, which we feel every one should be equipped with life saving skills coz accidents are not respectors of man kind.Those who want to learn more life saving skills ZARO is having a training promotion for a period of one month and classes have started in kirwe.B A LIFE SAVER

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  3. And I thought he was bitten at a lodge in his room as some media outlets in SA are just stating he was bitten by a Black Mamba in Zambia…only white people can set up camp in a bush hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital in African bush and think they are in Europe where there is no wildlife that can cause danger.
    Zambia Tourism Dpt should have made a statement to clarify this as its bad press for the country and medical facilities available… they have to be proactive and emphase on tourists especially the backpackers to use established licensed facilities.
    MHSRIP.

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    • Most tourists are very aware of the dangers of snake bites in the African bush and take the risks willingly.Bites from black mambas are fatal in almost all Sub-Saharan African countries except South Africa as the hospitals do not stock the life saving anti-venom.Even with anti-venom many victims die.Bites from mambas happen more often in Northern Zambia especially during masuku ,mushroom and vinkubala collection and all end in deaths.But snake bites from black mambas are more rare than bites from other species.For the informed there is really no bad press from this unfortunate incidence. This is the most feared snake Bembas call ngoshe and it was more feared than a pack of lions.

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  4. So yeah, one white person dies of a mamba bite this year where a dozen Zambians will die of one too, but the white person is dumb because he camped where there is no antivenom to be had. How come there is no stock of antivenom in Mpika Jay Jay ? Zambians die every year !

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    • Bob the blob – This person who died is a well known judge in RSA if it was any other white man it would have just been reported a tourist died, you have no idea how social media works or how to market a country. These trips are planned in advance as a bike can only travel so long on a specified distance with fuel…this couple probably saw a romantic spot and decided to camp there.

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    • Ask your Dr Chilufya those questions these are the questions tourists are asking about anti -venom …this is why your relevant authorities need to proactive with such news especially when its not even clear where the person was bitten and how long it took to get to the nearest hospital. You can be biten on the leg and tie a belt to stop blood flow but if you bitten on the chest or head even anti-venom can save you.

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  5. i salute the guy he is a maverick. am sure he loved the wilderness and travel. rest in peace

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    • You need money and time for such things busungus plan for these things as something to do when the retire…that German BMW machine in the photo is not cheap they cost £11,000 used

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  6. It has made the news because he is white, so many black people die but it never makes the news

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  7. You people aren’t seeing what I see here, so this judge dies in Zambia and will be cremated then his ashes taken home, while!!! nice,thats cost effective.why can’t we emulate this, especially our ministers (current or former)who now tend to think going to S.A for medicals and probably even die their is fashionable.This will reduce on the costs of buying coffins and been ferried on a plane. And the way Zambians fear crimation they can even stop going to S.A for medicals….

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  8. Mpika is becoming famous for black mamba bites and deaths. Remember the 7 or is it 9 Chinese men who were bitten by a black mamba and died during the construction of the TAZARA railway line? It was also in Mpika and there is a monument in Mpika were these Chinese were buried. How many locals have died in Mpika because of black mamba bites and what can be done to minimize loss of life?

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    • Stock up on anti-venom and improve facilities at clinics instead of buying $80 million Jets

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  9. Have a mass cull get rid of the snakes it’s kill or be killed these mamba s are evil

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    • Oh dear, where to start with that rather ridiculous idea…..Why kill animals that were here long before us? Those snakes keep rodent/vermin populations low which helps reduce the press of disease. Taking them out creates an imbalance in the ecosystem. It’s us humans who should try to co-exist. Accidents will always happen even when every precaution has been taken. Snakes are never out to bite people, we are more of a threat and a waste of their ‘Expensive’ venom (it takes a lot of energy to make that they don’t get back because we aren’t a meal).

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  10. I guess I watch too much crime stories. I am very suspicious of his death. An autopsy should be conducted before he is cremated. You just never know…

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  11. It’s really bad and such a shameful thing to have lost a very prominent labour judge in such a manner. This is something that must be taken seriously by putting safety measures to prevent such occurrences from happening again coz this is not the first time we are hearing such from Mpika. Tourism department what role do you play in such? You need to caution and inform people about some of the most dangerous places so that they are aware and avoid them if possible. Carry out some statistics of biodiversity inventories and document them please!
    M.H.S.R.I.P

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  12. I am also a foreigner here, but at times I strongly blame the Zambian authorities for being not informative. Places of such bad reputation must be flocked with danger warning boards. Check even the roads no kilometre pegs, no directions or road names for highways linking the cities, only weighbridge and pay toll signs are available. I am of the opinion that if there where warning signs maybe could avoided such an untimely loss of life. May his soul rest in peace.

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  13. Remember also the 16 Chinese TAZARA railline builders who perished from one black mamba they final cooked but dead before they could eat it.

    LET US STOCK ENOUGH ANTIVENOM IN ALL OUR HOSPITALS PLEASE!

    Also read about tales of how to safely kill a black mamba from all regions in Zambia.

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  14. Whites respect snakes and wildlife in general greatly. At the mines in North Western Province you can lose your job with no recourse for appeal for killing a snake. I saw a whiteman being bitten by a twigsnake at Nkana Golf club. He was trying to take the stray snake back to the bushes.

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  15. Somewhere in the villages of Zambia and many African countries the locals know the treatment of these snake bites. I know one man in mkushi who can even rise a man from death after snake bite. May Governments identify such professionals and avail them to the populace. This man claims snakes do not kill people. He says someone is buried alive. He has the ability to raise someone from being pronounced dead three days afrwr

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  16. Its very unfortunate that he had to be a victim of such an encounter. Black Mambas are actually very territorial and short tempered snakes, especially when cornered. The unfortunate thing is that we sometimes make these animals feel threatened even when we are unaware of their presence, which, in most cases, ends in a bite. I believe the even the most basic health centers should be equiped with antivenom especially in areas where certain species occur. Tourists should also travel with an returnable emergency antivenom kit in case such situations occur.

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  17. we call it ‘NGOSHE’ very poisonous and shroud one hell of a reptile. in my home village, though blessed with a mini-hospital, we don’t waste time to take a victim of Black Mamba to the health facility, its almost always no use. we have special, very few elderly men who have skills and masters degree in Special herbs.. they do treat. even when you have pronounced the victim dead, once handled by these doctors, they resuscitate them.

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  18. In what circumstance was he bitten and where exactly, the story is just as blurred as those bitten by the mamba.

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