'Poison' wipes out family
A Durban family lost five members in one week after eating poisonous mushrooms.
Relatives, still reeling from the tragedy that started on Wednesday and ended on Sunday with the last death, yesterday spoke of their grief and confusion.
They said Bheki Mkhize had arrived home in Dassenhoek, west of Durban, with mushrooms later believed to be poisonous and given to his girlfriend to cook. What was supposed to be an ordinary afternoon meal turned into a nightmare on Tuesday when the 29-year-old Mkhize's family started getting sick, hallucinating and vomiting.
Mkhize's girlfriend, Xoli, fell ill first and died on Wednesday at RK Khan Hospital. His sister, Nombulelo, 22, was rushed to Marianhill Hospital. She was discharged after receiving treatment.
On Thursday, Mkhize's 17-month-old child, Emenhle, died at KwaDabeka clinic. On Friday, Nozipho, 24, Mkhize's other sister, died at Marianhill Hospital. She had an eight-month-old baby. While the family was still trying to get to grips with these events, Nombulelo was rushed back to hospital where she died on Saturday.
On Sunday, Mkhize died at RK Khan Hospital.
His distraught aunt, Thembekile Cele, said they had no idea where he had found the mushrooms. She said the family learnt of their illness when Nombulelo called, asking them to meet her in Pinetown because she was very ill.
"We went to fetch her in Pinetown, but she was sick and losing her mind. She was vomiting and she could not even walk. We called an ambulance," Cele said.
"Then it was her sister and the child. We do not have the full story except that they ate mushrooms. Only two children survived because they came home after the rest had eaten the mushrooms."
eThekwini m etro ward councillor Sibongiseni Mkhize sai d the relatives had reported the tragedy .
KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesman Chris Maxon said postmortems would be conducted soon to establish the cause of death.