Amacimbi reprieve for January disease

By Liberty Mutamba

THE abundance of Amacimbi this year will temporarily halt the incidents of “January disease”
afflicting people living on the outskirts of Gwanda town.
Villagers, who live in areas with an abundance of Amacimbi like Matshetsheni, Nsindi and
Timberfamer are making a living from harvesting, preparing and selling a bucket for around
Hareti Dube (64), who was fetching Amacimbi at Nsindi said she would be relieved from the
stress of the January disease.
"January comes with a lot of stress after spending so much just to make your family happy
during the festive season.
“I, however, cannot tell that we are in January as we are selling Amacimbi. We are even failing
to satisfy the demand because of the labour involved in harvesting. But I am happy that the God-
given caterpillars have come at a time we thought we would be in deep financial strain,” she
Ntombikayise Mlilo said it was a business opportunity for those in rural areas to make money as
Amacimbi are in demand throughout the country.
"I started to sell amacimbi when I was still in the forest. Some people were buying with cash and
in other instances, we engaged in barter trade in exchange for essential such as cooking oil,
sugar, and maize-meal.

“I have managed to raise funds for the first school term and all boarding expenses. It is bushy in
the forest. We fear snakes and other dangerous creatures, but we soldier on for our children and
to leapfrog from financial strains.
I usually sell them to polytechnic students who rent houses in location while I transport some of
them to Mashonaland since the market in this region will be flooded," said Mlilo.
Matabeleland South Police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Loveness Mangena, said no
causalities had been recorded so far while people were harvesting Amacimbi.
Last year one person died from a snake bite while another survived after receiving early
treatment for a snake bite while harvesting Amacimbi.
We have not recorded any casualties related to Amacimbi harvesting, yet. But we urge people to
desist from entering dark forests alone. We also encourage people, especially women to move in
groups to avoid being robbed and raped, said the police spokesperson.

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