94-year-old dies after eating chillies


Kiyapili Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
A 94-YEAR-OLD man died  after allegedly eating hot chilli at a memorial service in Old Luveve, Bulawayo, on Saturday.

Charlie Tembo was found dead by children in a toilet with a swollen stomach after he rushed into the facility to relieve himself, soon after ingesting the chilli. He was also frothing from the mouth. The children alerted elders who called an ambulance and the police who came after about three hours.

Tembo’s family declined to speak to the Press, saying it was too early after his death.

A resident Mr Dunstan Mapuma who was attending the memorial service said the deceased shared a plate of isitshwala with a man called Mr Mpala.

“Tembo asked for chillies from Mpala and he sprinkled it liberally over the food. After the meal he rushed to the toilet. Children then came informing us that Tembo had died while sitting on the toilet seat,” said Mr Mapuma.

He told Chronicle that Tembo’s grandson who is a nurse was called and he tried in vain to resuscitate him.

Mr Mapuma said Tembo was suffering from high blood pressure.

“His grandson tried to resuscitate him but he was dead already. Mr Tembo, we are told, was suffering from BP and we are waiting for the post-mortem to reveal the cause of the death,” he said.

Residents said they were shocked by the incident.

They said this kind of death was not common.

“I’m shocked about Tembo’s sudden death. I was with him early in the morning when he was going to the fields. I don’t know what happened to him but all I can say is that I am shocked,” said one of the residents.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Precious Simango said she was not aware of incident as she was out of the city.

“I’m in Harare. Contact Assistant Inspector Chipfunde,” she said.

Asst Insp Chipfunde said he would comment in an hour.

He was not reachable by the time of going to Press.


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  • Mthwakazi

    Chillies are high capsaicin they ratcheted up his blood pressure to unprecedented levels which is fatal
    Uzezwa abanye sebe wumana bethi ufakelwe ekudleni

    • Doctor Do little

      So in your limited brain when your blood pressure is high you rush to the toilet?

  • musa

    allergic reaction. but why put tbe old man’s age? both the journalist and the editors are mischievous.

  • mathe

    ufakelwe emfeni kuyingozi, ungani bamfakele isibindi sengwenya

    • Mthwakazi

      Nanto uhlanya ebengikhuluma ngalo.

  • Mqino

    Chillies wow…. hehe asazi omunye so

    • Gus

      i hope the chef there read this.

      • Mqino

        oh yes the manual guide for healthy eating for the elderly.

      • musa

        liyabona ukungezwa engikhulume ngako? kathesi abantu sebejulisa imicabango

  • Essexvale

    Truly puzzling! Chillies are normally considered as a tangy yet harmless food additive which enhances one’s appertite during meals. I used to grow them commercially at my plot in the Glenville peri-urban small scale agricultural area from 2007 -2009. Never before have I heard of a case where a person perished after eating chillies! However; I suspect that the chilly powder consumed by the deceased had been tainted with a toxic substance, hence the tragic death of Mr Charles Tembo. Alternatively, I tend to agree with musa who in his comment below mine, suspects that the culprit could have been a condition called allergic reaction. Wonder what Dr Do Little’s take is on this.

    • Mthwakazi

      Your 2 cents of a comment, deserved a glance only to be spoiled by the rotten fish that you then wrote about inviting someone to validate your nonsense. What kind of imbecile invites another to agree with them. Leave Dr Do Little to scratch his balls, wherever he is.

      • Essexvale

        What has your comment to do with the subject. And who are you to regulate terms and conditions for other users. You’re a very poor writer in need of help. There are several websites that give free lessons on appropriate writing skills that take the ethical aspect of writing into account. You’ll need that. And why are you degrading the name Mthwakazi with your nonsense? You can’t be one of us.

        • Doctor Do little

          Empty vessels comes to mind and believe you me this one is empty. He offers no argument contribution or sense. Utterly useless.

          • Jofa

            KKKKK eish!!!!

      • First Mthwakazi

        Next time when someone post and names themselves “Mthwakazi”; why don’t you pick a different pseudonym so people can distinguish between the first M and the second M. I’ve a feeling that you like to hide behind others and spew bile. It makes you feel good that when people are responding they think they are responding to the first M.

    • Doctor Do little

      You are right that it does not make sense. Toxic substances spread through out the body very quickly but chilies will normal go through the same digestive sequence like any other food. You will normally feel the effects of the chilies about 8 hrs later if you have a week stomach. If you have a strong stomach you might feel the effects when expelling faeces from the body. To die of chillies is strange indeed. Certain toxins like anthrax will make one foam blood from the mouth. Having said that there might have been something else in the food that caused the allergic reaction. He could have suffered form anaphylaxis. It is a known fact that even an allergy to peanuts and bee stings can and have caused death.

      • Duze

        Anaphylaxis? What sickness is that?

        • Doctor Do little

          Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that has a rapid inception and if not arrested quickly may cause death. It can cause more than one of the following: a tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, light-headedness,an itchy rash, throat or low blood pressure. These symptoms typically come on over minutes sometimes hours. It is mostly cause by foods including nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs and some fruits.It is also caused by medicines including some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

  • God of War

    Please immediately investigate this Mpala fellow, he knows what he did.

    • makhosi

      The fellow died of heart failure, c’mon he was 93. The chillies and food shared with Mpala is of no consequence.

    • Ras Makate (Mutunhu une Mago)

      He was 93 and hypertensive, at that age the systems are operating at their lowest level and any form of excitement or sudden internal disturbance can easily trigger off cardiac arrest…..It was time to go for Mr Tembo, we tend to be too suspicious but this was probably a natural death without any foul play involvement…

      • Doctor Do little

        I agree with you on this one. Death at this age can be sudden. Who would want to kill him at that age and for what? Going to the fields at that age? A strong man he was and his life should be celebrated.

  • sigadula

    Shame! But I wish it was someone we are all tired of…….

  • Sonde

    Over -exitement from seeing and partaking of meat after too long can cause high Blood Pressure and Heart organ failure. Not very wise to suddenly show Old folks meat . That is the mother of all sorts of heart attacks.Uum, Old Luveve??? Most likely dog meat. SPCA seen this???? Rabid dog meat very poisonous. Foood tests recommended during autopsy.

  • Doctor Poo Little

    if chililies coud kill, there would be no more Indians on planet earth!