According to the BBC, no other than the southern African country’s President, Edgar Lungu, has also joined the nation in mourning the death of the fish known popularly in the country as Mafishi.
Reports say Students at Copperbelt University (CBU) where the fish lived until its death lit candles and marched around campus to mourn it.
Wondering why the death of the fish is such a big deal? It is reported that for the last two decades, CBU students have believed the fish would bring them good luck during exams, hence it’s passing has hit them hard.
BBC Zambia reporter Kennedy Gondwe reported that some students used to pay homage to the fish before exams, believing it brought them good luck while others saw it as a stress-reliever.
They created a hashtag Mafishi, which has been trending on Zambia’s social media.
Mafishi, meaning ‘Big Fish’ in the local Bemba language, was thought to be at least 22 years old and had lived in the university’s pond for more than 20 years, student leader Lawrence Kasonde said, said the BBC.
Just like the unnatural death of humans is investigated to unravel the cause of death, the president of the Copperbelt University Student’s Union said an investigation is underway.
“It is yet to be buried, we are planning on embalming it,” Mr Kasonde told the BBC.
The first gentleman of Zambia President Lungu, quoting Indian anti-colonial campaigner Mahatma Gandhi wrote on Facebook that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
“I’m glad you received a befitting send-off. We’ll all miss you,” the president added.
The death of Mafishi has caused what appears to be a suspension of partisanship momentarily as opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema also joined in the mourning.
“We stand with the CBU student community, past and present, over the death of their iconic pet Mafishi,” the BBC quoted Hichilema as saying.