His standard question was: “Iyama na, induku?” And that was years before Viagra.
If the answer was negative, his solution was always chatha phalaza – throw it all up, shoot it all down.
The philosophy of the medicine was simple – if the stomach, which is at the centre of everything, is healthy, all else will be fine, including the stick.
Soccer players did the same thing. Two days before the big game, they went to their medicine man, who would make them throw up and give them a strong traditional laxative.
Therapy, in the African tradition, is always shocking.
Bab’ Nhlangothi was a popular medicine man in Springs.
He rented a garage at Mawe’s house, and he would often send me to go and buy his ingredients from the medicine shop in a section called Rest in Peace.
Itshe Elibomvu, or the red stone, was his favourite. He would add it to other herbs – roots, leaves and stems – and grind the ingredients down with his iron pestle and mortar.
It was so big and so loud, it almost shook the Earth.
The patients usually got there early because Bab’ Nhlangothi worked as a night watchman at the factories in New Era.
He slept during the day and left for work at 4pm, two hours before his shift, even though the trip was only 25 minutes long.
He was fired from his job – but that is how you know he was good because, as he told me, he caught the managers stealing.
He got another job within two weeks because of his reputation, and worked there until his retirement.
South African society is very sick at the moment, and it needs shock therapy.
Bab’ Nhlangothi could be your medicine man, but never your grandmother.
You had to be an active participant in your own success.
One day, some young man came to consult, and Bab’ Nhlangothi told him to go and put a spyt up his backside and then let it all loose.
“Ngiyasaba, I am afraid,” the young man confessed, and asked Bab’ Nhlangothi to help him insert the enema.
“Nawu’umhlola!” he replied.
And that is the equivalent of: “My f*k, Marelize!”
“Ngingabe ngipetulana nengquza yenye indoda? [Would I be turning another man’s arse?]”
Now, your grandmother could do that for you.
If you ate too many sweets during the December holidays, you knew the drill – two days before schools opened, you all lined up to drink castor oil or get an enema and let it all loose.
Yea, you had to clean the stomach for the mind to work properly at school.
The South African economy needs an enema. The grandma state is not working.
BEE must be scrapped – it has left 10 million South Africans unemployed.
It enabled the old shareholders to cash out, and now the black shareholders are stuck with companies that would have died a natural death anyway because of the changing market conditions.
Government by itself cannot deliver any services.
It needs its employees to do their work, but they have a culture of umsebenzi womlungu awuqedwa, meaning the white man’s work must be never be finished, which is why people in government take the whole day to do simple tasks.
Hospitals are in a mess because of management and the employees.
If they are disciplined, they know that the unions can protect them by either stalling the process or making sure that they influence the ANC to fire the officials who demand performance.
So, for its own survival, the ANC must break the alliance between itself and trade federation Cosatu.
The SA Communist Party is a parasite in the alliance anyway. It could be cut off like mould on cheese.
But then you need a Bab’ Nhlangothi who wants results and is dispassionate about your fears and discomfort.
- Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency