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Toddler (3) dies after tototo binge

By Khosi Fengu

BINGA – A three year old Binga girl died shortly after drinking close to 375ml of tototo – a potent illicit brew – that was stored in a kitchen cupboard at her home.

File picture of Kachasu brew
File picture of Kachasu brew

The girl’s mother, Monica Siyamakkaye, 35, from Chinego area under Chief Pashu, said she had just returned from church around 4PM last week when she found her daughter, Juliet, shaking uncontrollably while rolling on the ground.

She said she had left the child in the custody of her 13-year-old sister.

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“I left home at noon to attend to some church errands and when I came back at 4PM I found my youngest daughter in a state. She was throwing herself to the ground and banging her head with her body shaking,” Siyamakkaye told Chronicle.

Shocked by the toddler’s strange behaviour, the visibly distraught mum said she examined the child and smelt alcohol on her breath.

“I held her in my arms to find out what was wrong and I could smell alcohol on her. That’s when I rushed into the kitchen hut to investigate,” she said.

Siyamakkaye said she found an almost empty 375ml bottle of tototo near the cupboard and it dawned on her that the child had consumed the contents.

“I realised she had drank her father’s bukande (Tonga name for beer). I gave her some milk and let her sleep hoping she would wake up feeling better,” she said.

To her shock, Siyamakkaye checked on the child later during the night and found her dead.

“I woke up around 10PM to check on her and I found her dead,” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.

Siyamakkaye said she regretted leaving the two children alone at home without adult supervision saying if she had been around “this tragedy would not have occurred”.

The girl’s father, Mthabisi Ngwenya, who was away when tragedy struck, declined to comment on the issue.

Ward 19 village head, identified only as Siyamakomba, expressed dismay at Juliet’s death and urged villagers to exercise caution when handling hazardous substances.

“It’s very sad that a life has been lost at such a tender age. To whom do we place the blame? You must never expose such harmful substances to children because they watch your movements and follow suit,” said the village head.

Siyamakomba said he would consult with fellow village heads and Chief Pashu to stop the brewing of tototo. Chronicle