Exercise Caution When Harvesting Wild Goodies

The community of Sesame village is still in shock, following the death of two young boys, who mistook a poisonous wild plant, mogau (Dichapetalum cymosum), for legaba.

The five boys of school going age, left their homes to look for wild fruits, but returned home with symptoms that suggested they might have ingested something poisonous.

It was sadly confirmed that they had indeed ingested a poisonous plant known as mogau. It is not the first time that locals have lost lives after mistaking non-toxic plants for poisonous ones.

Last year a 58-year-old man from Lotsane ward in Palapye also met his untimely death after he and three others ate a wild plant, they had mistaken for an edible medicinal root.

Most Batswana who grew up in a village set-up will attest to the fact, part of the fun time is going into the bush to get wild goodies such as moretlwa, moretologa, maboa (mushrooms), and many more.

A few years back, there were also reports of people who often became ill after ingesting dithuthuntshwane (poisonous mushrooms).

Those who know how to differentiate poisonous berries and plants from edible ones are usually very good at informing or educating people on how to distinguish between the two, but accidental ingestion still continues to affect the community.

We are usually very cautious with food we purchase from stores, and mostly want to ensure that the food we buy or cook at our homes is fresh and would not harm our health in any way.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a love for traditional wild fruits and berries, but let us exercise caution, when harvesting such.

Many people in towns sell some of the wild goodies, and perhaps it is best we leave the harvesting of the wild berries, fruits and roots to the experts, rather than fall into the trap of ingesting something that we are not sure of.

The family of the two boys is now mourning the loss of their loved ones, just because the young boys, thought they knew what they were ingesting was safe and healthy.

This is an accident that can happen to anyone, young or old, but it is also something that can be avoided. Perhaps since we have quite a number of poisonous plants, some of which can be mistaken for the healthy/nutritional/medicinal plants or fruits, we should beef up education on the said plants and learn to differentiate their characteristics.

Most Batswana love edibles such as moretlwa, moretologa, legaba etc, but unfortunately not all of us are familiar with their characteristics.

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