**Warning - some of these links are v gruesome, don't read the muti murder links (in bold) if you are a sensitive viewer. Sangoma ones are fine. Apologies for not having this warning earlier**
***Removed offending links - it is too upsetting***
You know what is so wonderful about living in SA, is that we are such a mix of different cultures, of different ethnicities. I was listening to the local radio station this morning and there was something on muti murders and how apparently Britain had experienced one a while back, and I thought ‘hey, bet my blog readers would find this topic interesting'.
Here in SA, when you are ill, you have the option of visiting several different medical practitioners to make you well. You can visit your general practitioner, the conventional Dr; you could go visit a homeopath, a herbalist, or you could go visit a Sangoma. The term Sangoma is used to describe a holy man or woman, a skilled diviner and healer within the tradition of the Zulu and Ndebele people. A Sangoma is 99% of the time a black person living in a black community, but apparently you do get white Sangomas. Sangomas conjure up potions (known as ‘muti’) to make you better, made from all sorts herbs and other things. They can also help you with various other ailments including a straying husband, a disobedient wife, a willful child. Because of our history, protecting indigenous culture and traditions is very important and so recognition is given to healers such as Sangomas as a legitimate part of our society. They can even issue sick notes now!
The dark side of ‘traditional medicine’ are the muti murders, a muti murder is a killing to harvest body parts for use as muti, or traditional medicine. Muti is the Zulu word for medicine. A muti murder occurs when an individual dies as a result of their body parts being harvested for use in traditional medicine. The body parts are then mixed with other ingredients such as herbs or plant roots to make the muti. This is a very sad, and far too common occurrence here in South Africa.
Then lastly, a story about the tokoloshe. When we were younger we had a black Xhosa nanny called Grace*. She used to sleep with her bed raised on bricks. We asked her why, and she told us that it was to prevent the tokoloshe from getting to her.
*A lot of Black people will take on an ‘English’ name, to help us useless English speaking people call them by a name that *we* can pronounce ;-) Grace’s name wasn’t Grace, she had a Xhosa name. Beauty’s name isn’t Beauty, she has a Xhosa name. Rose’s name is Rose though. Perhaps because she isn’t Xhosa. She is Sotho.