Vilakazi Street under siege - by snakes

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soweto snakes THE STAR Lindiwe Mgomezulu, left, and her daughter Nolwandle Duma with Pepsi and Cola. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto, is under siege - by snakes.

The reptiles, including one anaconda, have become the latest attraction on the street famed for being the only thoroughfare in the world to once have been home to two Nobel Prize winners - Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

With the street now boasting several restaurants, craft-and-curio shops, Mamfiso’s Snake Show adds to its tourism value and vibrancy something “authentic and African”.

It’s been four months since owner Lindiwe Mngomezulu, who is popularly known as Mamfiso, opened her home to people who want to view a snake show.

With an entry fee of only R10 per adult, snake lovers coming into Mamfiso’s five-room house should brace themselves for a welcome by five snakes, including two yellow and white albino Burmese pythons.

The pair - Pepsi and Cola - are two years old and are caged in two glass aquariums with an interleading passage.

Likely to send shivers down the spine is the sight of a coiled yellow male anaconda called Dion. Mngomezulu says although the snake is non-venomous, most people are terrified of it because of its size.

A red-tailed boa constrictor called Landi and a corn snake, Pikinini, complete Mamfiso’s reptile collection.

It is her wish to add two more snakes to the collection - a milk snake and a king snake.

A love of snakes is something believed to be hereditary for Mamfiso and her 18-year-old daughter Lindiwe.

Mamfiso’s care for these reptiles blossomed when she caught an Aurora house snake in her yard while living in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni in the 1970s.

Instead of killing it, she built a glass cage for it inside her house, but it died two weeks later as she did not know what to feed it.

Lindiwe’s love of snakes goes back to when, as a six-year-old, she caught a snake.

The Star

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