By Kole Omotoso
BEFORE the tragic South African Police Service shooting of 34 miners at Marikana, there had been a gathering the night before.
Preceding the gathering, there had been the murder of two police men and two security officers at the hands of some of the miners or their supporters or some third force wanting to escalate the on-going tension in the mining industry in South Africa.
At that night gathering, there was a sangoma or two, babalawo or dibia with evil intensions who had come to administer some remedies to the miners.
The claim of these remedies is that they would dissolve bullets and ensure that machete attacks glide off the skin like water off a duck’s back! The miners took the remedy. Faced with the soldiers the following day, 34 of them died, not believing that they were being killed by bullets that should have no effect on their human frail bodies.
There is the story I was told some time ago about a muti (a relieving remedy) which would bring thousands of shoppers to your spaza (little shop) as soon as you bury the muti in front of the shop. To prepare the muti, the potential customer must acquire two live human legs which will be used for the muti. Why legs? To ensure that other legs would come to the spaza!
But why live legs, Mos? Why not? Because, Mos, most people who go shopping these days go by pleasure cars or by public taxis. So, what’s it with human legs? Why not tyres? Why not use what modern shoppers go about with rather than human legs since nobody goes walking to shopping malls anymore?
Akin Isola once told the story of a man who came to tell him that he could procure a medication remedy that would totally and completely make bullet effort useless.
No matter where the rain of bullets was coming from the medication remedy would disgrace the bullets and turn them back to the shooter! Is that not dangerous?
I mean the boomerang option? That’s the problem of the shooter, said the fellow with the remedy. Not really because we are going to try it out first on a goat.
And you will be the shooter. So, you must take out the boomerang option to the shooting, right? The goat was procured and the shooter was invited on a Saturday to demonstrate his muti. The goat was prepared. It was only natural that there was a taxidermist in waiting to ensure that none of the muti got in the way of preparing the goat for higher service later.
The remedy did not work and the goat died in the way of scientific research and was joyfully celebrated by those who were present.
People are prepared to give reasons why these remedies do not work anymore. The fact of the matter is that our people believe that these things worked before, when people were more trusting of the efficacy of their cultures, when they did not doubt themselves but believed that their own remedies were the working remedies. Now doubts have been planted in the minds of all, especially our highly educated elite.
They have been the greatest promoters of the White man’s remedies. Were you to point out that these things do not belong to the White exclusively, they would smile knowingly and ask what has any dusky coloured person done for the world before?
My feelings about this are that nothing can persist so long among so many people without having a iota of truth in it. Yes, we encountered the White man and he bested us and dragged us into colonialism and our mutis did nothing to help us to overcome them. An idea does not come from out of emptiness.
There must have been people in the old days in the old ways who could make enemy weapons go against their wishes and the wishes of their wielders. Perhaps that was before the importation of the gunpowder driven bullets? Or perhaps the bullets go faster than the conjuration and the incantation can go? Who knows? Yet I believe that if it can be thought, it can be done.
How many people laughed at the idea of H.G. Wells and his journey to the moon? Today Cape Canaveral exists and has been the platform to lift up rockets bound for the moon and beyond. Go to Florida and listen to the rockets lift up. Go to The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells and read the noises a rocket makes before and during its lift up and they are identical to those that rockets make today on their journey to the moon.
All that has happened is that Western scientists have taken the dreams and imaginations of their artists and writers and backed them with scientific support. In the process they have made what seemed delusions reality. Scientific research is already underway on the idea of time travel. Why are we not doing the same with our imagination madnesses?