Friday 12 May 2023


A family of 12 from Village Two in Umguza District, Matabeleland North province, is lucky to be alive after eating poisoned isitshwala/sadza on Tuesday evening.

The family members who were rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital in the wee hours of Wednesday with severe diarrhoea and vomiting are said to have left their maize at a local grinding mill as there were no attendants.

One of the family members later returned to the grinding mill to collect the mealie-meal. Police are still investigating what transpired.

In an interview at Mpilo, Ms Rebecca Moyo said the poisoning had left seven adults and five children battling for dear life.

She said if they had delayed getting to the hospital, they could have easily died from dehydration as they were vomiting profusely.

“On Tuesday, my brother James Ncube took a bucket of maize to a local grinding mill and was told to come back later as there were no attendants. Later on, he collected mealie-meal and proceeded to his house.

His wife prepared isitshwala and they ate as a family. At around 6PM, I went to my brother and asked for mealie-meal as I had run out. We stay a few metres from their homestead as we are one family.

“I managed to cook isitshwala which we ate with my grandchildren and we retired to bed. At around 10PM, one of my nephews came knocking at my door saying the whole family had fallen sick suddenly. I rushed there and inquired what they had eaten only to discover that it was isitshwala and vegetables,” said Ms Moyo.

She said the condition kept deteriorating and within a few minutes, everyone was vomiting and taking turns to use the toilet as they had developed severe diarrhoea.

“I then decided to go back to my homestead and check on my grandchildren who were sleeping only to discover that they too were up and vomiting. We then called for help and one neighbour suggested that we all be taken to the hospital.”

Ms Moyo said by the time they left, the children had soiled their blankets and the homes were in a mess as there was vomit all over.

She said the family members got to Mpilo Central Hospital at around 4AM and they were all admitted.

“I am happy because we all got medical attention and after some hours, the seven of us were discharged after we recovered. Our blood pressures were up as well but all adults were treated and discharged. Our children and grandchildren are still admitted but the nurses have assured us that they are recovering well. We are not sure what transpired and how our maize meal got contaminated but we’re grateful that we didn’t die as it could have been worse,” she said.

Ms Moyo said the grinding mill had been serving the community for the past year and no incidents of food poisoning had been reported before.

“We are still in shock and convinced that the mealie-meal had something in it. We hope that the police will get to the bottom of this so that we can move on as a family.” Chronicle


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