On July 5th this year (2006) a Kenyan man was so much in love with his lover that he decided to give her a gift of a deadly Black Mamba snake wrapped in a gift box and told his unsuspecting girl friend not to open the box until she got home.
His parting remarks were even more bizarre. Without revealing what the gift was he asked her to come back for a “red one” if she was not satisfied with quality of the “black one” inside the box.
The man, Evans Nyakundi was found guilty of “pretending to conduct witchcraft by presenting a black mamba” by a Kericho court and was jailed for a year with an option of paying a Kshs 10,000 fine ($138).
It looks like romance for Mr Nyakundi’s lover evaporated the moment she received the strange gift, because she was in court to testify against him as the complainant (accuser) in the case.
What Mr Snake-gift Romeo had to say in his defense was even more interesting.
“I had no intention of bewitching her because to date we have not broken off our relationship.
“It was really a very small issue, I just wanted to scare her a little. But she screamed and people gathered and made it look like an act of witchcraft. She believed them because she is from a different tribe.”
The woman said she was traumatized when she expectantly opened the box, only to find a coiled snake.
This blogger doubts whether the court (or the reporter) got their facts right. The black Mamba is the deadliest snake in the world. It is lightening fast and its’ venom kills in minutes. It usually avoids humans and the only evidence that often warns herders that it is around is when a whole herd of cows or goats suddenly collapses, paralyzed and in great pain. Death quickly follows in a matter of minutes.
Chances are that if the woman in question opened a box containing a black mamba it is unlikely that she would have lived to testify in court.
Snakes are widely used in witchcraft and bizarre tales of childless women being asked to strip naked and sit on African pots so that a snake can lick their private parts from the darkness of the huge pot, to enable them conceive have been told to this blogger. In many communities the only people who would be carrying around snakes with them are persons involved in witchcraft.
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