THE death of a giant fish, fondly called ‘Mafishi, which lived for over 3 decades, in a pond, at one of Zambia‘s biggest higher institutions of learning, the Copperbelt University (CBU), has been the talk of the week around the world and has taken social media by storm.
The fish was famous for its beauty, huge size of between 70 and 100 centimetres, as well as what it symbolised to the students, most of whom considered it a stress reliever or/and a source of good luck for their exams.
But its death in itself would probably have gone unnoticed had it not been for the dramatic manner in which it was mourned.
Examination students who are the only ones currently attending classes, because of COVID 19-induced school closure, gathered to pay their last respect to Mafishi, lit candles and marched around the campus while singing solemn songs, as well as making speeches about what the fish meant to them.
For example, some students used to feel going to the pond where Mafishi was, made them feel relaxed in times of exam or relationship stress, as they watched it swim elegantly. Others shared superstitious accounts, saying that seeing Mafishi resurface towards exam time meant the student would clear the exams, but that the opposite would be the case if the fish remained under water.
The extent to which the students mourned Mafishi attracted the attention of Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu, who empathised with them, saying ‘Mafishi had been part of the CBU community for a long time and would be missed. He added that he was glad that the fish had received a befitting send off, and used a Mahatma Gandhi quote that says “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Other notable members of the Zambian society, including the leader of the biggest opposition party, Hakainde Hichilema, some government officials and entertainers, equally sent messages of condolences.