Legendary Omieri the python, set for public exhibition


Snake

The legend of Omieri still lives!

Omieri, the giant python which died in 1989, will from today, November 30, be displayed to the general public at the Snake Park in Nairobi.

The reptile was 15-foot long and weighed at least 75kg, and has been preserved at the National Museums of Kenya labs for over 30 years now.

The giant female python slithered to national limelight in 1987 and became an instant sensation among the Luo community as it was believed to be a good luck charm. Residents of Nyakach, where the snake was found said its presence was a “sign of good things to come.”

American historian, James Smith, is said to have narrated in a 2008 book about how the community believed that the snake symbolised the return of an earlier woman named Omieri whom they claimed returned in the form of the serpent to bring “fertility to communities and to individual women to whom she appears.”

The python was even reported to receive offerings in the form of goats, chicken and ugali from Nyakach residents in gratitude for the blessings it brought the villagers like causing rain during the drought. People flocked the village from far and wide, boosting the sale of commodities such as soda, samosas and doughnuts to tourists.

Omieri was burnt in a bush fire in 1987, prompting the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to move it to Nairobi for treatment causing major uproar from Nyakach residents who claimed that heavy floods swept away their homes and even more misfortune struck them soon as Omieri left.

Then area MP Ojwang K’Ombudo, is even quoted to have said in Parliament in March 1987 that; “The Nyakach water supply and a local road have had serious problems since Omieri went to an orphanage in Nairobi.”

Omieri died in 1989 and the residents were inconsolable blaming her death on KWS for removing it from its natural habitat. A condolence is said to have been opened in her honor at Kaloleni Social Hall, as was a funeral fund.

Omieri, however, has been lying cold on the National Museums of Kenya labs since her death, and her exhibition on Tuesday will be the legendary python’s first ever public ‘appearance’ since its death.

 

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Story By Ian Omondi
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