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Herbalists or Charlatans?

19 January 2012, 10:59

A Herbalist is someone who uses natural extracts from plants and herbs to treat physical and mental disorders. A charlatan is a person who pretends, or claims, to have more knowledge or skill than he or she possesses.


(To my black brothers and sisters: Please read the whole of this story before commenting: “This stupid, racist whitey knows nothing of our traditions.” It is not my intention to make fun of legitimate traditional healers.)


I do respect the traditions, rituals, and ceremonies of Sangomas and traditional healers. With the catastrophic state of our hospitals it is probably safer to go to the local traditional healer’s hut; instead of the Chris Hani Baragwanath, or Steve Biko Hospitals.


In the classified ads of one of our daily newspapers, under the heading: “Herbalist” – I came upon some weird and wonderful claims made by these so-called healers. I’d like to share some of them with you.


First, there is a truly amazing herbalist; from Plein Street in Joburg, who sells Enlargement Powder: “Payment only follows once manhood choice size is fully permanently big; it grows in my hands while I am busy.” (Here, I involuntary uttered the old Afrikaans expletive: “Bliksem!”)  The advert continues: “10cm – R750, 17cm – R1000, 21cm – R1600.” Also: “Free delivery.”


This made me wonder: What do you get for R10 000? Do you get a free wheelbarrow with it?


The next advert is from Chief Duwa. This gentleman will not only grow your manhood and tighten virgins; he will also enlarge your assets (which sound excruciatingly painful), and hire short boys to bring you money. Mail orders are accepted and T’s and C’s apply. (So don’t be surprised if you should open your mailbox and find an enlarged THING in there – it was delivered by the short boys!)


Ready for one more? OK, let’s meet Prof Rasol – the “Finisher of Unfinished Financial Problems; Mutti is 100% Same Day Guarantee.” This astonishing man does all the usual miracles – enlargements of manhood and asses, winning at lotto; bring back lost lovers; chimbunga to bring money, etc, etc. But wait! That’s not all!


He will also remove the tokolosh! (Again: “Bliksem!”)


How does he do this? I might be persuaded to believe in the tokolosh, but eviction? No way! Does he provide alternative housing? Who pays for the furniture removal? What about the unions? And Malema? No, this sounds a bit far fetched.


But, after all of this – what is my point?


Just this: I cannot, for the life of me, understand why no one has lodged complaints against these “herbalists.” Either their claims are true; in which case the sales of wheelbarrows will jump off the scale, or people just don’t give an amagundwana’s asset about these charlatans.


The Advertising Complaints Authority (ASA) is the Body that deals with complaints about advertising content. Anyone can lodge a complaint if he or she believes that the content of an advertisement is untruthful, misleading or harmful in any way. The criteria for lodging complaints are simple:


The complaint must be in writing.

The identity of the complainant(s) must be disclosed.

The contact details of the complainant(s) should be clearly stated.

The complainant(s) identity or passport number must be provided.

The grounds on which the complaint is based must be clearly stated.

When the complaint is about print advertising, the relevant advertisement should be attached.

If possible, the contact name, address or telephone / fax number of the advertiser should be provided.


So there you have it; everything you need to lodge a complaint.


But one final warning – and this is serious: If the short boys should rock up at your house one dark, dismal night to repossess your 21cm manhood, or to shrink your enlarged assets, don’t come crying to me! I’m not the one who complained.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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