Family meal kills five in Durban

2012-09-25 11:29

Durban - Five people are dead in Durban after eating what are believed to be poisonous mushrooms, The Sowetan reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper the five, including a 17-month old baby, died after eating mushrooms brought home by Bheki Mkhize, 29, on Tuesday.

Mkhize reportedly gave the mushrooms to his girlfriend, known only as "Xoli", to cook. She was the first person to become ill, and she died at RK Khan Hospital on Wednesday.

Mkhize's 17-month old baby, Emenhle, died at the KwaDabeka Community Clinic on Thursday.

Mkhize's sister Nozipho, 24, died on Friday at the Mariannhill Hospital.

Another of Mkhize's sisters, Nombulelo, 22, was taken to Mariannhill Hospital, but was discharged after receiving treatment.

However, she was later rushed back to hospital and died on Saturday at RK Khan hospital, where Bheki Mkhize died on Sunday.

His aunt Thembekile Cele said she did not know where he got the mushrooms.

She said the family did not know how to reach Xoli's next-of-kin and knew only that she came from Lamontville.

Cele also reportedly did not know how she would pay for the funerals of her four family members as she was unemployed.

She said would contact the municipality for help.

KwaZulu-Natal department of health spokesperson Chris Maxon said the cause of the deaths would only be known after post-mortems were completed.

  • evan.connock - 2012-09-25 11:42

    Amanita phalloides or deathcap was no-doubt the culprit here, inclined to look just like the ones you buy at the grocer, but that's where the similarity ends. Not a particularly nice way to die. At first seems treatable, symptoms sometimes go away and the person feels fine, only to die of kidney failure a day or two later. Condolences to the family, must be terrible to lose not just one member but more.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-09-25 11:49

      Except the Amanita's have white gills not pink/brown. If you dont know about mushrooms rather do not pick and eat them.

      Madoqua - 2012-09-25 12:48

      Of all the species of mushrooms we have in South Africa, to pick one (albeit a relatively well known species) Amanita phalloides, is a shot in the dark. We have a rich diversity of species many of which are poisonous.

      atholl.canterbury - 2012-09-25 15:50

      fargone - the 'Scientific / Botanical' manner that you have identified this fatal event indicates that, especially in the 'Greenhouse' KZN region, this is a Huge threat. A toddler of 3yrs could easily pick up a 'mushroom' and die from even one bite. This has probably happened before - with nobody making the connection.

      bongile.langa - 2012-09-26 00:06

      @ Mike: Mike u a either dumb or an ignorant fool. That guy and his family did not wake-up and decide "oh lets have some poisonous mushrooms maybe they won't be lethal to us" Ag!

      merven.halo - 2012-09-26 09:33

      This is so sad, RIP to all victims.

      rainbownationrsa - 2012-09-26 10:30

      To Clifford and Mike, what ignroant and nasty comments, Perhaps these people are struggling and they were desperate for some food. When you are hungry you will eat whatever you can find and very few people are mushroom experts. It is a sad tradgedy and could have happened to anyone.

      Jo.Davies123 - 2012-09-26 12:25

      I am intrigued as to who would put a thumbs down to condolences towards a family of 4 that died?! Am I missing something here?

  • Eterni80 - 2012-09-25 11:45

    Sad sad sad :-(

      bongile.langa - 2012-09-26 00:09

      And my heartfelt condolences to the Mkhize family and affected relatives:-(

      mike.dufham.7 - 2012-09-26 15:24

      Survival of the fittest

      jimboyia - 2012-09-27 05:46

      This guy Mike Dufham is a 100% proof twat, an embarrasment to humanity. Condolences to the family. Anyone who has ever had children would understand the pain they must be experiencing.

      mike.dufham.7 - 2012-09-27 14:08

      Don't breed if you can't feed

  • lielie.smit - 2012-09-25 11:56

    DAmn, that's really bad, shame. Probably though he was giving them such a treat.

  • ish.mkhonto.7 - 2012-09-25 11:57

    So sad

  • lasherza - 2012-09-25 12:16


  • dirang.montsho - 2012-09-25 12:16

    so sad

  • Muneer23 - 2012-09-25 12:22

    Shame man, condolences to the family of the deceased

  • sanda.mnyazi - 2012-09-25 12:45

    And to think how much i love mushrooms and i can't even differentiate between poisonous and viable one's. This is just sad

  • nathiesmallboy.dlamini - 2012-09-25 12:55

    it is so sad. My the Lord God comfort the family

  • zebedi.spring - 2012-09-25 13:16

    As the saying goes,"There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters.

  • julie.j.vanrensburg - 2012-09-25 13:58

    Tried to identify the mushroom in the photo from my book, FIELD GUIDE, MUSHROOMS OD SOUTHERN AFRICA,by Van der Westhuizen and Eicker, but could not find it. Don't even know whether this is/was the culprit, as there are numerous others that fit the bill. Whoever picked the mushrooms could have mistaken them for the Termitomyces umkowaani, or more commonly known as the i-kowe, which is only found sprouting from termite nests, and has a flavour that is unsurpassed in the mushroom world. It is also known as the Steak Mushroom that can grow big enough to cove a dinner plate, and fried in butter and a bit of salt and pepper added makes a meal fit for a king. However, there are a number of similar-looking species out there that ARE poisonous, any of which would have been eaten, and I suspect it could have been one of those. Look, I love my (wild) mushrooms, but I don't tuch anything I'm not certain of. Very sad that these people mistakenly ate the wrong types... My condolences to the families of the victims.

      deirdre.maule - 2012-09-25 15:57

      News24 generally don't research their pictures before posting them, they often use a picture of motor bike that has been put on its side on the ground with a beautiful helmet on it to show a bike accident, or the inside of an awesomely decked out American ambulance to show a car accident ... they probably just typed in the word mushroom and used the first best pic!!

  • siyabonga.mthiyane.927 - 2012-09-25 14:01

    This is really horrendous! Im also a big fan of mushrooms! May they all rest in peace! How unfortunate!

      rodney.louis.7 - 2012-09-27 11:04

      Shame .. once nippled on a mushroom myself that i picked ... ..Condolance to the family God Bless

  • sunith.varkey - 2012-09-25 19:38

    This is bad advertising for KFC.... idiots like me might read the headline and think a KFC Family Meal kills...

      lionel.defrontignac - 2012-09-26 03:55

      That's what I thought too! Salmonella in a box meal...stupid me.

      patrick.pitjeng - 2012-09-27 08:40

      Hahahaha..also thought of kfc

      UncleShep - 2012-09-27 14:24


  • vuyolwethu.booi - 2012-09-25 21:09

    Tjoo..this is tragic..:o

  • vuyolwethu.booi - 2012-09-25 21:09

    Tjoo..this is tragic..:o

  • numerofigo - 2012-09-26 00:37

    Daaamn mushrooms must be removed from the shelves... SABS must approve the mushrooms, if their bad for human consumption...

      Msika - 2012-09-26 08:07


      marcanthonytaylor - 2012-09-26 09:18

      I think poison mushrooms should be charged with attempted murder if they are eaten and murder if the person dies. I believe some of them are used in witch craft, not sure on the scientific name but I think they are commonly referred to as magic mushrooms or something.

      merven.halo - 2012-09-26 09:35

      Lol numerefigo, he picked the mushrooms in the field.

      shabir.ahmed.7796 - 2012-09-26 13:25

      SABS..Magic mushrooms..clearly some people got up on the stupid side of the bed this morning...As for the guy that picked this,my heart goes out to him-may his family RIP. Moral of the story,buy mushrooms from the supermarket.

  • lisa.c.Biermann - 2012-09-26 06:59

    you dont go picking mushrooms if you dont know what you picking... there are shops for these type of things..

  • lskosana3 - 2012-09-26 07:26

    Oh what a tragedy :(

  • bmaestro - 2012-09-26 07:36

    shame.the father thought he was providing for his family as usual only to learn this too late,may all the family's souls rest in peace.

      mike.dufham.7 - 2012-09-27 08:28

      Nonsense. Don't breed if you can't feed

      lynette.mufaro - 2012-09-27 09:04

      Mike,you my good sir,are an oxygen thief!

      UncleShep - 2012-09-27 14:27 oxygen thief fo sho

  • kyle.buitendag - 2012-09-26 07:41


  • Msika - 2012-09-26 08:09

    I blame poverty for all of this. Poor guy couldn't afford to buy his family proper mushrooms from the shops and ended up picking these poisinous ones. So sad, may their Soul Rest In Peace!!

      lisa.a.bradshaw - 2012-09-26 13:55

      Many people in France all walk in the forests to collect free wild is not a poverty thing but a taste thing..People need to understand that mushrooms can be poisonous...that could be a life skills lesson!!!

      Msika - 2012-09-27 08:12

      This is not France, this is SA. France is a first world country, SA is a third world country that is stricken by a whole lot of social challenges, Including poverty.

      UncleShep - 2012-09-27 14:31

      first of all who qualifies a country to be a 1st or 3rd world, second of all who says therez no poverty in France?

  • sandy.kroukamp - 2012-09-26 08:41

    Any idiot can see a mushroom that color is poisonous...................

      LanfearM - 2012-09-26 10:45

      No actually not. There are mushrooms that look almost exactly like white button mushrooms that are extremely poisonous. Only a real mushroom expert will be able to tell the difference. Certain mushrooms that look very similar to the ones in the picture are very edible, not poisonous, and yummy. Mushroom picking should be left to mushroom experts, or eat cultivated mushrooms. This is not a hobby for the inexperienced. People actually go and study a Mushroom Academy to learn the differences.

      Msika - 2012-09-26 13:09

      Any idiot can see that you are an idiot.

      frankflower - 2012-09-26 21:14

      Sandy, in South Africa we spell colour with a 'u'... And we make use of correct sentence structure... Otherwise one does not make sense, like you.

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-09-26 12:12

    Don't pick mushrooms in the wild and DON'T take them home and cook them! Duh!

  • sk.malatsi - 2012-09-26 13:16

    I once read about poisonous/deadly mushrooms when I was 7. since I can't tell the difference between the good and the bad ones ..I've never had a mushroom since then. Im even terrified of those checked ones at a grocer store

  • avanwyk2 - 2012-09-26 16:07

    The minister of education must take responsibility for this uneducated error. My condolences

  • Billy - 2012-09-26 16:19

    this is so sad! condolences

  • freddy.vandermerwe.7 - 2012-09-26 22:07

    SAD to hear!!!now i know why my parents freaked out about when i was a child!

  • patrick.pitjeng - 2012-09-27 08:46

    Thats why a im terrified by the sight of mushrooms, in the grocer or in the wild

  • lydia.benkenstein - 2012-09-27 09:55

    People, now please don't get petty about spelling etc.Stick to the point. My condolences to the affected families.

  • mganomkhulu.siyabonga - 2012-10-01 08:48

    eish dats sad, sorry for the family dat have been a victim from mushrooms,aweness should be made so that we dont experience ather death again........

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