Masobozela Mdletshe is not afraid of snakes. When he sees a snake, his eyes light up because he knows a special treat is coming.



“Snake stew is the tastiest. I prefer it to chicken or beef,” said Masobozela Mdletshe, a 60-year-old traditional healer from Lindelani, Durban, KZN.

Masobozela Mdletshe
Masobozela Mdletshe eats a piece of python at home in Lindelani township, Durban.

“My boys love it too. They wipe their plates clean, lick their fingers and always ask for more.”

He told Daily Sun he catches pythons and black mambas and uses the snake venom to tame snakes.

He said he tries to have a snake stew at least once a week.

“Nomvula, my wife, isn’t into eating snake and the girls only drink the sauce from the stew, but my boys love it as much as I do,” he said.

“My nine-year-old son already knows how to catch snakes when he goes into the veld.”

Nomvula said she will never get used to eating snakes but it didn’t bother her that her husband and the boys enjoy the meat.

“My husband believes the snakes give him strength as a traditional healer and that his children will also gain strength so he lets them join him,” she said.

Masobozela said his father taught him to eat snakes.

“My father taught me that snakes are also meat and said it was okay to eat them.”

Neighbour Zandile Dlamini (40), said she has often seen Mdletshe coming home with snakes from the forest.

“He chops them into small pieces and prepares them in a pot,” she said.

Musa Mntambo, a spokesman for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said the Mdletshes are breaking nature conservation bylaws.

“If we catch him eating a snake we’ll arrest him,” said Mntambo.

And a spokesman for KZN Health, Sam Mkhwanazi, said eating snakes is dangerous because they are hosts to parasites, bacteria and viruses and are not good for the human body.

Sazi Mhlongo of the South Africans Traditional Healers Association said eating snakes is not wrong, and that pieces of snake are often put in healing mixtures.



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